As long summer nights and crisp fall days turn into chilly winter nights, many people find their mental health taking a toll. For some, this may involve a lower mood easily treated with simple, at-home remedies. For others, it may be a condition known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD) that may require help from a medical professional.
If you find your mental well-being decreasing in the winter months, here are a few tips you can try to boost your mood.
Improving Mental Health
Harvard Health Publishing through Harvard Medical School lists many ways to improve your mental health during winter. These include exercising, meditation, eating healthy foods, maintaining social support, and even light therapy.
1. Exercising. Thirty minutes of exercise can release endorphins, a feel-good hormone. While it may be challenging to get outside during the winter months and go for a run or walk, consider alternative outdoor or indoor exercise. Winter can be a great time to try out a new workout from the comfort of your own home. Or, you could consider other forms of outdoor exercise, such as snowshoeing, ice skating, or cross-country skiing.
2. Meditation. Many people may find meditation and meditative practices such as yoga helpful. Meditation does not need to be extensive and can simply include 10 minutes of guided meditation utilizing an app, such as Headspace.
3. Eating Healthy. The holiday season is filled with reasons to indulge in sweets and other savory foods. While there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself, it’s essential to focus on your overall diet and include plenty of fruits, veggies, and other healthy foods too.
4. Maintaining Social Support. This one can look different for everyone. Maybe you’re someone who enjoys a night out with friends – or you might prefer texting or calling a close friend or family member. Regardless, keeping in touch with your social circle can help you feel supported and provide relief during long, dark winter days and nights.
5. Light Therapy. Light therapy at the correct intensity and time of day can be helpful for those with depression, especially if their depression is seasonal. We recommend speaking with your health care provider about this option before trying it, as this therapy may not be safe for those with certain medical conditions, such as eye diseases.
Seeking Professional Help
If you find yourself struggling with your mental health as the season shifts to winter, also consider reaching out to your healthcare provider. While home tips can be great places to start, mental health conditions (like any other disease or condition) may require the help of a medical professional. Your primary health care provider is a great place to start for recommendations on the next steps specific to your health and well-being.
And, if you want to spend your winter days making an additional income or need a change of pace, consider reaching out to an Arbor Associates recruiter or exploring our open positions. We care about matching employees with fulfilling roles that meet their needs.