Another week, another snow and ice storm. Cue the frustrated and tired sighs!
Although it’s an expectation that our Canadian winters are a little up and down (to say the least), the weather can still have a major impact on how we’re feeling.
Being cooped up inside all day means that we are generally less active and have less exposure to sunlight, fresh air, and other people. This can leave us feeling tired, lonely, and having an overall sense of sadness. You may notice that it’s difficult to get out of bed in the mornings, or to gather motivation for activities that you normally do. Sometimes everything can feel like a chore, from getting out of bed in the morning, making meals, or attending social obligations.
It’s safe to say that many of us don’t feel like we’re at the top of our game during the winter months.
Although there’s not a whole lot we can do to influence the weather, we can definitely influence how it affects us.
The following are some tips I’ve gathered that I’ve found helpful to keep my mood and energy levels in check over the winter months.
In the summer, many of us are naturally more active with walking, running, swimming, outdoors sports, and outdoor household chores such as gardening or mowing the lawn. In the winter months, we tend to do fewer activities and spend more time indoors. This may mean that we are lacking endorphins that our bodies create when we exercise, leaving us feeling less-than-stellar.
Find an exercise routine that works for you and your schedule. You can check out our blog post about Staying Active in the Winter for more tips and ideas on how to stay active in the winter months.
Use a therapy lamp.
We experience a LOT less sunlight in winter months as compared to summer months. This can leave us lacking in vitamins such as Vitamin D, which may be contributors to low mood.
Therapy lamps mimic the same type of light that the sun emits in the morning, helping us to feel re-energized and happier overall. It’s recommended to sit in front of a blue light for approximately 20-30 minutes per day for optimal benefit.
These lamps can be purchased at many retailers including Costco or Amazon, such as this one: https://www.amazon.ca/Verilux-VT10WW1-HappyLight-Liberty-Compact/dp/B00K08ZDBI
Similar to blue light lamps, supplements can be another great way to substitute important vitamins we may be missing during the winter months. Vitamin D drops are a common supplement to take during the winter months. However, it is always best to speak to your doctor about which supplements are best for you and your individual needs.
Make time for friends and social activities.
When the weather is at its worst, many of us opt to stay indoors in “hibernation mode” to avoid the cold and snow. Sometimes it feels good to hibernate, but if we isolate ourselves for too long it can lead to feelings of loneliness, sadness, and decreased motivation.
Instead, plan activities with friends such as coffee dates, fitness classes, or a paint night. If you’re looking for more inspiration, Groupon or Meetups can be helpful for finding fun and local activities in Hamilton.
Get a check up.
At times we may be feeling down as a result of vitamin or hormone levels being out of whack. It’s never a bad idea to arrange a check up with your family doctor and to have blood work done in order to see if anything is off.
Hopefully you find these ideas helpful in coping with the winter blues.
We know how difficult this time can be, and you’re not alone in how you feel. If you feel you could benefit from talking to a therapist, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
On the bright side – Spring is only 27 days away!