Beat The Winter Blues: 6 Ways To Cope With Seasonal Affective Disorder
Many of us struggle with the *winter blues* — a general feeling of bleh during the grey + gloomy months of the year. This is typically known as Seasonal Affective Disorder [aka SAD] + it is thought to be related to the changes in the amount of daylight we get. Around 4-6 percent of people may have winter depression + another 10-20 percent may have mild SAD — which, is 4x more common in women than in men [lucky us!] ++ doesn’t typically start in people younger than age 20… meaning we are primed for getting a case of the blues during winter.
I have struggled with this for a long time. My *mood* from mid-October to early March seems to go into a serious slump. My sweet tooth becomes stronger, my need for sleep becomes greater, I’m constantly tired, + I begin to dread meeting up with people [even though I am a total extrovert!].
Despite being treated for clinical depression already, I still get these serious winter blues + have seen so many posts from you guys struggling to climb out of the grey + gloomy weather too! I always think February is one of the worst months of it because it is still *so cold* yet you can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel that is winter — yet it just hasn’t stopped yet! I wanted to share some of my tips for climbing out of that funk + beating the winter blues : )
#1] PICK A DAILY MANTRA
I typically get on pinterest + scroll through all of the positive + inspiring quotes + bible verses — there are literally thousands! Screenshot ones that really stick out to you for whatever reason. Choose one every day + have that be your *anchor* for the day — whenever you notice your storm cloud looming over you, repeat your mantra [over + over ++ over] until some rays of sunshine start to peek through : ). Setting it as your phone background also helps give you a little reminder every time you use it too!
#2] GET 8+ HOURS OF SLEEP
Sleeping less than 5 hours does not make you more of a badass than the person next to you! If you have SAD you can think of it as somewhat of an emotional *flu*. Even if your physical being doesn’t feel sick, you mentally are exhausting yourself every day just to get your daily tasks done ++ that is OK. You need some extra snooze time right now — so don’t settle for anything less than 8 hours of sleep every night.
#3] FIND YOUR *FIGHT SONG*
Music can take our mood from dumped to PUMPED. Find a song that really sticks with you + simply listen to it a few times a day. Have this be time that you sit still + do absolutely nothing — just let whatever your *fight song* is fill you up + reCHAARG you ; ) Some of mine this past winter have included Let It Out by Frances, Oceans by Hillsong United, Reflections by MisterWives, + Alive by Sia.
#4] TREAT YO’SELF TO THAT LATTE
Those days where your eyelids are just *too* heavy to even peek through, allow yourself to have something with a little more oomph than the typical cup o’ joe. Set a date with yourself to get your favorite coffee shop order [mine’s a peanut butter latte <3] — it will make getting out of bed that much more exciting!
#5] TAKE A WORKOUT CLASS, NOT A PASS!
Getting to the gym is hard enough when it’s cold out — coming up with your own workout on top of that? Forget about it! Commit to a workout class where an instructor will lead you through the class + you’ll be surrounded by others to hold you accountable or sign up for a workout program [CHAARG Studio or CHAARG Run Club!] to be motivated + inspired by 1000+ other girls ++ have awesome workouts planned for you during the week!
#6] GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO NOT BE 100%
You didn’t slip into the winter blues in 1 day ++ you aren’t going to climb out of them in 1 day. You won’t wake up tomorrow with the sun suddenly shining, birds chirping, + feeling awesome — and there is nothing wrong with that. Giving yourself the okay to not be *okay* is one of the most empowering things you can do during the winter blues. You will wake up + notice that the sun is a little brighter + stays out a little longer. You will wake up knowing that brighter days are ahead + today will be a little bit better than the last!
If you think your *winter funk* might be a little more serious than just a case of the blues, never hesitate to reach out to me [[email protected]]. As someone who struggles with mental illness, I know that there is a point where you cannot overcome your mood on your own + might need to seek professional help + additional guidance. I am always here for you + willing to help point you to other resources that can help you with whatever you are struggling with.
*PSA: Check out our Mental Health Resource Guide for more resources on taking care of your mental health 💕