The lights have stopped twinkling on the snowfall. Gifts have been dispersed, all the hearty soups consumed and a whole new wave of holidays is right around the corner.
But the sky is still gray.
It’s safe to say that Americans are over winter by February. And simply wanting to dig into spring planting isn’t quite an option yet. There is nothing quite like being surrounded by empty tree branches and a gray sky to make the winter depression make itself right at home. Well, we’re here to give winter the eviction notice and you some much needed tips for beating winter depression.
Winter Depression Tips
- Put Things in Perspective: Winter depression is so common that some people are diagnosed with a disorder known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, a form of depression based on the seasons. And it isn’t their imagination or cabin fever. It can cause chemical changes in the body that bring on depression. So, the first thing to do is to realize you aren’t alone. And if you’re female, you’re four times more likely to suffer from this disorder.
- Let the Light In: Those who don’t live near the equator are more likely to be depressed over the winter months. They also suffer from low levels of vitamin D, because the easiest way to help the body produce vitamin D is to spend a bit of time in the sun — a tall order when you can get frostbite within minutes. But, you can still fight this mood disorder. Light therapy boxes are one option, offering artificial sunlight that can help relieve depression and potentially help the body to produce vitamin D. Some people even take a few minutes a day in the tanning bed or opt for even a small greenhouse.
- Get Moving: Exercise is known to help increase serotonin levels and output. Aerobic exercise in particular works best. But don’t put on your exercise video just yet. Instead, consider trying something new, like dancing or water aerobics. The idea is to get the blood flowing and improve serotonin levels, but adding an element of fun to it is going to take your efforts even further.
- Wash the Winter Out: Nothing helps bring the gray sky inside like a coat of dust. Start your spring cleaning early and you can get your exercise and wash away the winter blues at the same time. Play some music to add a layer of fun to this task. You can even take things to a whole other level by sprucing up a room with a new coat of paint of colorful decor.
- Liven Things Up: Literally bring some life into the house. You may not be able to start playing in the garden just yet, but something as simple as a planter of fast-growing grass on the table can make a world of difference to your mood. You might even start some of your other seeds in a mini-greenhouse you can keep inside. Just the act of getting your hands in some dirt can make you forget about the chill outside the door for a while.
- Plan for Spring: One thing that usually helps people get out of a rut is new goals and dreams. Once the weather warms up, you’ll want to hit the ground running, so why not start getting your plans together now? Ready for a new patio? Start drawing up the designs and gathering supplies. Want to hit the beach in a new suit this year? Start your new diet plan with a garden you design now.
Don’t confuse cabin fever with depression, either. Wanting to get out of the house is different than not wanting to get out of bed, though one can lead to another. It’s easy to let cold weather dictate your mood, but if you take the initiative and make some changes this year to stave off depression, next year will be even easier to manage.