February may be the shortest month of the year, but it feels like the longest when there's only 5 days of sunshine and 20 inches of snow.
Seasonal depression is a condition characterized by fatigue, feelings of hopelessness, and difficulty concentrating. It's most common among people living further North because the days are shorter.
While seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a diagnosable condition, many of us experience some level of sadness during the winter months.
But wait - there are ways to prevent seasonal sadness! Here are 5 easy to implement strategies to feel good all year round.
1. Light Box
One of the causes of seasonal depression is a lack of natural light. The days tend to be dark and dreary.
Light boxes were designed to mimic natural light. You can purchase one for as little as $45 or as much as $150 depending on what features you're looking for.
Use the light box first thing in the morning for about 20-30 minutes every day. You can use this time as a way to meditate in the sun before starting your day.
2. Spending Time in Nature
Being outside when it's 10 degrees doesn't sound very pleasant, but it can help you fight seasonal depression. Any time outdoors is proven to help mood.
So even if it's just a 5-minute walk around the block, take some time every day to go outside and enjoy the fresh air.
If going outside is simply not an option, bring nature to you. Start caring for aa plant or an indoor garden. These hints on nature inside your home can also help you fight the feelings of seasonal depression.
No one knows you better than you do. So when it comes to feeling happier and more relaxed, what works for you?
A scented candle? A gentle jazz playlist? Fifteen minutes of meditation?
Whatever your self-care routine is - use it! These small things can do wonders to fight against the symptoms of seasonal depression.
Socializing in 2020 changed forever. We were all attended virtual happy-hours and virtual holidays with friends and family. And even though we couldn't socialize in-person, these virtual events were helpful to boost mood.
Talking to close friends and family over the phone or video chat is a good way to get out of the seasonal depression funk. Social support is a powerful tool to increase self-confidence, focus, and happiness.
So the next time you are feeling down about the lack of light and freezing temperatures, try a quick phone call to your best friend and see how different you feel afterwards.
5. Get Inspired
The winter months are a perfect time to start a new indoor hobby. Have you always wanted to learn a new language or how to knit a scarf? Now is the time to try it!
When our brains get stimulation from new challenges, we get a hit of happiness chemicals to the brain. Trying new things and working our bodies and brains in a new way can help reduce the effects of seasonal depression.
Brainstorm three new hobbies you can try in the next month. Set aside some time each day or each week for your new hobbies.
Who knows, maybe you've found your new favourite activity or a hidden talent!