Even though February is the shortest month on the calendar, it can often feel like the longest; the excitement and busy-ness of the holidays are behind us, but we are still facing several weeks (or months!) of winter. While it can be normal to feel down during this time of year with shorter days, colder temps, and fewer opportunities to see the sun, there are some proactive steps you can take to avoid the worst of the winter doldrums. (Adapted from Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic)
1. Get Outside – Natural light is your biggest ally for combatting seasonal blues. Even a few minutes a day can help lift your spirits. While you will have to bundle up, of course, the results will be well worth it!
2. Move Your Body – Whether it is a short walk or an instructor-led fitness class, try to squeeze in 30 minutes of exercise at least three times a week. The Landing offers both in person and virtual fitness classes for all ability levels to help support your exercise habits.
3. Maintain Interpersonal Connections – While 2020 has made it harder to be social with friends and loved ones, it is so important to interact with others regularly. Try scheduling a weekly phone call over coffee with a family member, or reach out to us to participate in one of our virtual classes or workshops to make new friends with similar interests!
4. Light Therapy – studies have shown that light therapy boxes can help boost serotonin production, which can in turn improve your mood. Your physician may be able to provide a prescription for one of these devices, in some cases.
Remember that if you are feeling especially down during the winter months, you are not alone – millions of people in the United States suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, while even more may experience a milder version of the winter blues.
The tips above may help mild symptoms of seasonal mood changes. If you find that you are feeling depressed most of the day, losing interest in typically enjoyable activities, experiencing changes in appetite, feelings of hopelessness or thoughts of self-harm or suicide, please reach out to your doctor immediately to discuss further strategies.