Photo by Kate Mereand-Sinha
I saw the forecast the other day…More Snow!! Seriously??
I used to covet snow since it always meant that school was cancelled when I lived on Cape Cod. Living in such a rural place, the snow created a kind of wonderland in which I loved to play. And it also meant movies and hot chocolate and all those cozy traditions that went with not going to school and having time to hang with my family.
I’m an adult now… and New York snow feels different. Especially this year. I think many of us find it hard to get out of our apartments if it’s not absolutely necessary, and it’s hard to find joy amid the slush and dirty snow piles.
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a real thing for many people. Even if we don’t suffer on a clinical scale, so many of us can experience frustration, sadness, and even hopelessness on a spectrum in winters like these. I work with lots of people every day, and I share the winter struggle with so many of my clients. What can we do about it?? How can we remain healthy and active when we don’t feel like going outside? And what can we do for ourselves to get through this winter with sanity and positivity??
Photo by Iryna Yeroshko
Getting Through This Winter Strong, Healthy and Happy
I have found some things that have worked for me, for my friends, and for my clients. The key is to find what works best for you. Most importantly, make the effort. Get yourself out there. Try some of these tips. It’s worth it – I promise!!
1) Get a light box. Since depression can arise from a lack of exposure to sunlight, many people find that light boxes (which mimic outdoor light) help them get the boost they’re not getting during dark winter days. Most people find that a minimum of 30 minutes of exposure each morning makes a real difference and lifts their mood throughout the day.
2) Cut back on sugar. In many ways, I’m writing this tip to myself – but I know so many people struggle from poor eating habits during the winter. We turn to unhealthy comfort foods when we feel down, and our bodies may be unconsciously trying to give us extra protection and padding against the cold. Unfortunately, too much intake of ingredients like sugar can make depression worse, make us feel lethargic, and fuel the desire to have more.
3) Plan ahead. Spontaneity can be fun, but sometimes when we avoid planning we let our emotions run our decision-making in the moment. Planning ahead allows you to “promise yourself” that you’ll accomplish certain goals during the week when you’re thinking clearly and practically. Make your workout schedule at the beginning of the week, and really try to stick to it (even if you would rather cancel in the moment). You will thank yourself for your dedication. And you’ll feel better afterwards, I promise!!
4) Forgive yourself. We all have bad days, and this winter has been particularly hard. Don’t beat yourself up if you find yourself slipping into bad habits. Acknowledge they happened, think about how you might have done things differently, and move on. Everyone is human, and there is no need to wallow. You have plenty of chances to get re-focused and try again.
5) Try something new. Want to find new inspiration? Think of one thing you’ve always wanted to try, and go for it. Maybe it’s that instructor you’ve heard so much about. Or that new yoga class in your neighborhood. Go ahead and put yourself in a new setting, and you may find that you’ve found something you want to start incorporating into your life. The change will refresh you.
Good luck! Spring is around the corner. And there’s no way it won’t be one of the most beautiful and welcomed springs we’ve had in years.