The best self care tips to beat the winter blues
Photo credit: Thom Holmes
The days are shorter, sunlight is scarce, and hibernation is in full swing. Winter has only begun and it feels like an eternity before we’ll be able to shake off our layers and enjoy a warmer and brighter climate. Battling the winter blues is exhausting when we’re facing shorter days and longer nights; our motivation dissipates as we snack on more comfort foods to avoid the outside. If you find yourself moody, exhausted, facing weight gain, oversleeping and anxious, you might be a victim of SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder. Shorter and colder days are prime triggers of SAD — according to psychologists, lack of sunlight slows down our body’s circadian rhythm and affects our melatonin levels. This process is a form of hibernation that causes withdrawal, low energy, and weight gain. But fret not! You can beat this winter ennui with these five self care tips. We’ll have you back on your feet and fighting the winter blues.
Establish a schedule and make space for alone time
Since the days are already shorter, try to enjoy the sunshine while you can! Establish a schedule that will allow you to complete your chores or work during an allotted time, allowing you to enjoy some Me-time. Whether it’s a bubble bath or binge-watching your favourite show, alone time can do you a lot of good. Avoid procrastination by building a schedule that balances productivity and down time so you avoid overworking your brain.
Drink more water and pick healthier snacks
Avoid drinking multiple cups of coffee during the day since it could affect your mood, your level of hydration, and your sleeping habits. Drink more water (at least eight to ten cups a day) and pick healthier alternatives to avoid sudden weight gain. Skip the carbohydrates and caffeine and choose a fruit smoothie for breakfast. Fruit cups, dark chocolate and nuts are brain foods that will combat lower levels of melatonin and serotonin.
Try to exercise or at least meditate
We know how the brutal cold can affect your motivation to exercise, but the endorphins you get after a workout are the absolute best cure for blues. Hit the gym for at least one hour per day or try meditation. You don’t have to gear up to exercise, small stretches or meditation at your office desk or even on your couch will give you a mental break for a few minutes. Rebooting your system, even for only a couple minutes, will lower your stress levels.
Show yourself some love
Self care is not selfish. Show yourself some love even when it feels like the winter blues are winning. Treat yourself to a spa day or a day off at home to catch up on your favourite hobby. The symptoms of SAD can affect your mood, mentality, and body image, so find some time to surround yourself with your loved ones and remind yourself of why you’re so lovable no matter what!
Carrying a journal to jot down thoughts during the day, or even your doodles from that work meeting, will keep you grounded. Journaling allows you to let go of your thoughts as you put them to paper, and organize as well as prioritize your emotions. Jotting down your feelings throughout the day will help you to be more mindful about yourself and your environment.