A s you know, Daylight Savings occurred a couple weekends ago, and people these days have a lot of strong feelings about it. For many, it’s a sign that winter is coming.
All of us are adjusting to a new season, new schedule, and saying goodbye to sunshine before 5pm (my personal nemesis). Some of us are able to find a love/hate relationship with Daylight Savings (never gonna say no to an extra hour of sleep!) but overall, it’s a tricky time for most.
A huge reason why so many people start to feel so blah right around the time of Daylight Savings is because of SAD… Seasonal Affective Disorder. If you’re unfamiliar with what SAD is, it’s a kind of depression that’s triggered by the change in seasons, specifically the decrease in sunlight. This can throw off your biological clock and cause a drop in serotonin or melatonin levels. For most people with SAD, symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months. These symptoms could consist of trouble sleeping, low energy, or just generally feeling ~moody~ all the time.
It can be so easy to fall into a rut this time of year. As the days get shorter and colder, and we’re spending more time inside and at home (Daylight Savings + SAD + a global pandemic is a really fun combo!), it’s really important to find the things that spark joy and take care of yourself, both physically and mentally.
It’s really important to find the things that spark joy and take care of yourself, both physically and mentally.
Now, this may sound like the saddest blog I’ve ever shared with you… but I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be all bad! Over the years I’ve worked on figuring out how to combat SAD and the seasonal scaries to make the most of the changing seasons, and I’m here to share some tips and tricks to staying happy and healthy as we head into this new season.
4 WAYS TO PROTECT YOUR WELL-BEING
For me, the key to protecting my mental well-being during the winter months all comes down to attitude. It’s no secret that the change in time and seasons has physical effects on our bodies, but the way we choose to perceive these changes can make a world of difference.
1. New Seasonal Activities
Living in Canada, one of the best parts of the changing season is SNOW! The colder days just mean we’re that much closer to all of the fun winter activities that we only get for a few months of the year.
Whether it’s skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing, snowshoeing, skating, snowball fights, or building snowmen (or snow-women) friends to get you through the winter, getting outside and enjoying the snow during the cold winter months is such an exciting thing to look forward to.
Which perfectly leads to my next tip…
2. Find Time for Sunshine
For many of us, winter means not a lot of sunshine during the week. It might still be dark when you head off to work or school, and dark by the time you’re on your way home. But, finding ways to sneak in some time in the sunshine can do your body, mind and soul a world of good!
Maybe it’s blocking out some time to take a walk during lunchtime. If that’s not something you’re able to do, try to prioritize spending time outdoors on the weekends (for inspo, reference the great list of outdoor winter activities we made in the last tip!).
3. Cozy Vibes
Spending time out in the snow isn’t for everyone, so finding ways to enjoy the cold winter months inside is super important too. For me, one of the things I most look forward to about the change in season is alllll of the ~cozy vibes~. The winter is the perfect time of year to curl up with a book, buy some warm fuzzy socks, listen to some chill music, and just enjoy your indoor space.
This can also be a great time of year to dive into some indoor activities you might not have prioritized as much during the warmer months. Maybe there are a few books on your shelf you’ve been meaning to get to, or a puzzle you’ve been wanting to work on with your family.
Whatever ‘cozy’ means to you, this is the time to lean into it.
4. Find Things to Look Forward To
All in all, one of the most helpful things for me has been finding parts of the season to look forward to, and choosing optimism.
This might look different for everyone – for some, it might be looking forward to spending the holiday season with loved ones. For others, it could be winter sports and activities like we talked about. Some people might look most forward to the start of a new year and setting some new goals and resolutions.
Find the good and use that as your guiding north star.
“One of the most helpful things for me has been finding parts of the season to look forward to, and choosing optimism.”
There’s Always a Way to Find Light
It’s okay to prioritize yourself and your self care, especially as it’s getting colder and darker out.
Over the next few weeks, I challenge you to pay close attention to how you’re spending your time and how it makes you feel. If you notice activities that are boosting your energy and your mood, try to prioritize those things and incorporate them into your schedule more.
Attitude plays a huge part in our mental and physical well-being. When SAD is getting you down, try to remember all of the exciting things to come in the months ahead, and take a moment to do something for yourself that makes you feel good.
If you’re up for it, there is always a way to find light in the darkness.