For thousands of people around the globe, the cold winter months bring with them notable mental health challenges. These symptoms are sometimes diagnosed as seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, but also may present as mild and not require a mental health diagnosis.
If you find yourself feeling irritable, sad, sluggish or off-balance in the winter months, this post contains mental health tips to support you as you patiently wait for the sweet sunshine of spring.
Why Winter Can Be Challenging
During the winter months, the days are shorter and the weather is typically gray and cloudy. In response to the cold temperatures, many prefer to stay warm and cozy indoors and decrease their time outside. With this limited sun exposure, vitamin D levels tend to drop, leading to seasonal mood and mental health challenges.
SAD or the Winter Blues?
Mental health exists on a spectrum and not everyone who struggles with their mental health in the winter needs to see a therapist or seek out a prescription for SAD. However, if you are struggling with depression, experiencing loss of appetite, are struggling to focus, or are not sleeping well it’s wise to seek the support of a mental health professional.
Winter Mental Health Tips
Being proactive about your mental health goes a long way to stabilize your mood in the winter months. Here are a few winter mental health tips you can implement today.
Try Light Therapy
Light therapy, or a happy light is one way to simulate the sunshine you would receive in sunnier seasons. These lights, which are easy to find in stores or online, produce far more light than the sun and are best used in the morning for about 30 minutes.
Stay Active & Exercise
When you exercise your body releases endorphins, which contribute to your mental health and sense of well-being. If you take a walk, snow shoe, ski or do other outdoor activities you will naturally increase your vitamin D levels as well.
Eat Healthy (Especially When You Don’t Want To)
When your body and brain are receiving proper nutrition, you have more of the energy you need to be proactive about your mental health. Even though winter is a tempting time to eat comfort foods and stay on the couch, you may only be making things more difficult.
Supplements to Support your Mental Health
Supplements are a natural way to give your body what it needs to thrive. Here are a few we recommend.
Mood Ease from BioSpec
RET Lung from Professional Complementary Health Formulas
Mood-Stasis from Designs for Health
What mental health tips do you rely on to stay healthy in the winter months? Share your experiences with our team in the comments box below.