Winter can be a tough time for many. The dark evenings and cold weather can often affect how people feel. There are lots of people who suffer from the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) which is a type of depression affected by seasonal changes which is why this is also known as seasonal depression or winter depression. If you find the cold winter months are harder on your mental health, Wellbeing365 have offered some advice and some simple steps to help you care for your mental wellbeing during this time. 

Make time for the things you enjoy 

During the dark winter evenings, try to avoid getting stuck in a rut of laying on the sofa or in your bed. You should do your best to continue to do the things you enjoy. If you have a specific hobby or activity which makes you happy, focus on this in your downtime. If your hobbies are typically outdoor, summer activities, it could be a good time to find something new. Perhaps learning a new skill or keeping a journal. 

Care for your physical health 

Being proactive by exercising and eating a well-balanced diet is great for your mental wellbeing. Exercise is proven to trigger a release of dopamine and serotonin in the body, both of which greatly affect mood. This exercise does not have to be a strenuous or extreme workout, in fact sometimes the best form of exercise is a simple daily walk. 

Taking care of your body is important when looking after your mental wellbeing. This includes maintaining a well-balanced diet and treating yourself to good food when you are hungry. 

Exposure to Daylight

People often underestimate the power of sunlight when it comes to our mental wellbeing. One of the main reasons so many people suffer with symptoms of seasonal affective disorder is due to a lack of sunlight within the winter months. Shorter daylight hours can affect your internal body clock, impacting your sleep pattern which can further influence the production of serotonin in your body. 

Ensuring you are exposed to enough natural sun light within the winter months is important and can help to improve your symptoms of SAD. This could mean increasing time spent outside or keeping your home light and bright. 

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Stick to a routine 

Having a regular routine will help you feel in control of daily activities, keep connected with other people, allow you to feel a sense of achievement when you tick things off your to do list. When considering a daily routine, you should make time for healthy habits, personal relationships, and activities you enjoy. This also includes creating a sleep schedule, whereby you allow your body to rest and re-energise.  

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