It’s getting to be that time of year again. Winter is approaching and with it comes colder weather and shorter days. We “fall back” so to speak with an extra hour for daylight savings, but in all honesty… this time of the year can be rough.
This is the time of year I really start to feel sluggish and unmotivated. I struggle to get out of bed in the mornings, I feel more agitated than usual, and I feel like I’m unable to concentrate on anything.
Even now, as I type these words to you today… I am struggling. I (and I’m sure many others) get hit hard with Seasonal Affective Disorder every year. Some years are easier than others, some years are worse. But mark it on the calendar, when the season starts to change, so does my entire body and mood.
What is Seasonal Affective Disorder you ask?
SAD (yes, SAD for short) is a type of depression that is related to changes in the season. It’s also been referred to seasonal depression or winter depression. But it’s more than just “being down” during the winter months, it can impact your day to day much more than you think.
DISCLAIMER: I do NOT advocate myself as a medical professional, psychologist or a nutritionist. For more information on SAD and treatment options, please talk to your family physician or healthcare professional.
I begin to notice my mood change when the air outside starts to get really cold. Like, cold enough that you bundle up in more layers than you’re comfortable with when you venture to the grocery store. Also, when it starts to get dark earlier in the evenings, I feel I get tired earlier as well. So you’d think that by going to bed earlier I’d feel more rested? Nope!
When I’m going through SAD, I notice my sleep is what really suffers. Because I feel so sluggish during the days, I tend to nap more after work or sleep in more on the weekends. I mean, last weekend I woke up at 2 o’clock in the afternoon! While sleeping more doesn’t sound like a big problem, if you are feeling sluggish and unmotivated to do your daily responsibilities, that’s when it becomes a problem. And there are options to help you overcome this!
It really helps to keep your daily routines the same, even if you feel truly unmotivated to do anything.
Try to maintain your typical sleeping schedule and morning routine throughout the winter months. With the days getting shorter and daylight savings taking effect, our sleeping schedule really is the first to get a bit messed up. It can feel odd waking up in the morning to darkness and you may want to just go back to sleep until the daylight peaks through your curtains. But stick to your typical morning routine (and maybe add some self care activities in to help.)
This is the best time to pick a morning ritual. Keep at that ritual throughout these dark and chilly months to establish a comfortable and enjoyable routine that instills warm, calming vibes. And just maybe carry that ritual with you to channel that energy whenever needed. Mine will forever and always be my first morning cup of coffee!
You could also try light therapy to help, especially on really gloomy days.
I’m not so much a fan of the happy light hue, but that’s just a personal preference. But, I have subbed in a mini himalayan salt lamp on my desk for those dark gloomy days. I do however know a few of my close friends who work in a dark office environments that use them and have nothing but good things to say about them. So I think if it’s a product you’re interested in, there’s no harm in seeing if it would work for you!
Like I mentioned above, for my own light therapy I have himalayan salt lamps in just about every room in my home.
The natural warm glow from the lamp makes waking up during the winter months cozy and warm, like a sunrise. I highly recommend turning on the salt lamp in the mornings, or sleep with it on the night before, so your body wakes up to the night natural orange hue similar to the rising sun.
If you took the time to read this blog post, my heart is full. What are some of the things that you do to overcome seasonal affective disorder? Let’s continue in the comments below (perhaps with a nice cup of coffee, heh.)
And reader, I want to thank you for reading up to this point in the post. Writing is an outlet I am passionate about, but hardly allow myself to do. I hope you enjoyed reading this post, and look forward to reading future blog posts on this site. I will be posting content every day in December for BLOGMAS — so mark it on your calendar or even better, subscribe to my blog so you get alerted when the next post goes live. Also, look out for future blog/vlog videos, exclusive content and just more positive energy to float your way.
Chat again tomorrow!