Ahhhh, winter! Beautiful white snow, warm fuzzy blankets, hot cocoa. While I try to embrace it, it's still my least favorite time of year. I don't look forward to the long nights and the dark, dreary days here in Ohio. We can go long stretches of time without any hint of the sun! December is always manageable with the holidays and all the pretty, sparkly lights. But, once those twinkly lights come down, well, it can become a challenge to keep my spirits up.
For some people, winter can trigger feelings of depression (sometimes referred to as Seasonal Affective Disorder due to a lack of sunlight during this season). It's important to note the difference between feelings of sadness and true clinical depression. And if you are having ongoing issues with depression, you should probably seek help. However, if you know that these feelings of sadness are just something that you deal with every year, there are some things that you can do to help kick those feelings to the curb:
//Never stop moving//
Exercise is so essential to keep us, not only in shape, but to keep us mentally feeling well. When we exercise, endorphins are released that make us feel good. So take a walk, find a class to join, or just stay moving by joining any kind of activity. Volunteering your time will not only lift your spirits because it makes us feel good to help others, but it gives you a purpose and still keeps you moving.
Ensure that you are eating well. The cold months are a trigger for many of us to want to load up on carbs and comfort foods. Just ensure that you are eating a balanced diet with plenty of healthy fats, proteins, and good carbs (fruits and veggies). Sometimes comfort food is ok, just not for every meal and not every night of the week. Also, talk to your doctor and ask him or her to monitor your Vitamin D levels. Vitamin D plays an important part in our mental health. And of course, make sure that you are using a healthy, food based supplement. The one we use can be found here.
//Get Your Rest//
Sleep has always been a downfall for me. Not because I don't sleep well, but because I'm a night owl. Always have been. However, the alarm still goes off at 5:15 every morning whether I go to bed at 10 or midnight. Not getting adequate rest is hard on our mental state as well. Aim for 7-8 hours of rest a night. I'm finally learning....
Essential oils can assist in bringing you back into balance. Different oils work for different people, but there are some that are known to help with feelings of sadness:
•Bergamot--Bergamot can be diffused or applied topically to help you feel relaxed and calm and to uplift your mood.
•True Lavendar--this oil can also help to calm and relax while at the same time improving balance, energy, and overall wellbeing.
•Frankincense--this is my all time favorite oil. When in doubt, Frankincense! Frankincense can promote relaxation and tranquility. This oil can ease stress and enhance your mood.
Different oils may do the trick for different people, but these are 3 that well for me. You can diffuse or just rub a few drops in between the palms of your hands in inhale.
Don't let a day go by that you don't allow yourself a few minutes to think of all the things that you have to be thankful for. Better you, write them down and start a journal of these thoughts. This can be a real game changer.
Don't let the winter blues get the worst of you. Find what makes you happy and do that, find your energy and doing things you love with people that you love and keep in mind, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and there are sunny, warm days ahead!