Fall. The name says it all. The leaves fall. The temperatures fall. Our spirits fall. Winter, aptly known as the “cruel” season, will soon be upon us with its limited sunlight, dragging many of us into a SAD state of affairs: Seasonal Affective Disorder.
The Mayo Clinic notes that this sate of depression usually begins around now and tends to dissipate in or closer to the spring. SAD lingers and isn’t easy to shake off. In fact, the Mayo Clinic advises we not just “brush it off” as “the winter blues.” There are treatments: light therapy (phototherapy), psychotherapy and medications.
SAD is chronic and serious. Most of us, though, probably do have something closer to the regular, old “winter blues,” and we can take steps to try to lift our moods.
First, we can get out there and take advantage of the limited sunlight we do see. Go for a walk by yourself or with your partner, family, or dog. Slip out of the office on weekdays for a stroll or just to tilt your face toward the sun for a few minutes.
Second, you can try to find a winter sport you might enjoy. (You can’t beat winter, so you might as well join it.) Skiing? Snowboarding? Skating? House or industrial league hockey? The exercise will make you feel better – and keep going to the gym, if you don’t opt for the great outdoors.
If you’re not keen on taking up an outdoor sport – or you can’t – consider cultivating a new hobby at home over the winter months. It’s the ideal time to learn how to do anything, from knitting or sewing to stained glass, cooking, or woodworking. While away those cozy indoor hours, discovering something new to enjoy.
Fight the urge to cocoon inside; get together with your friends. Socializing really does warm up cold days and nights, and laughter, as always, is the best medicine for the blues.
One of the best pieces of advice we’ve heard in our office is that in the dark doldrums of winter, we should wear brightly coloured clothes. And you know what? It really does lift your spirits!
Finally, if you’re really missing the sunlight – and so many of us do – look into buying a light lamp. Do your research and see which one might work best for you. But if you take all of the above steps, you just might not find one necessary. And if you do feel you have more than the “winter blues” or “doldrums,” do see a professional for help.