February - the winteriest month of all.
Fresh snow fall is pretty and magical in the moment, but let's be honest, that fades real soon before the "alright, let's wrap this sh*t up" feeling kicks in. The combination of the snow, ice, and freezing temperatures are enough to make me not want to leave my bed, but then throw limited daylight into the mix and it's nearly impossible not to get the winter blues.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is super common, and something that I deal with every single year being born and raised in the Midwest. Symptoms of SAD include depression, anxiety, irritability, and loss of energy.
On the bright side, we are on the upswing; the days are getting longer and longer, but how does one stay motivated throughout the winter when leaving the house is literally the last thing you want to do? Luckily SAD hasn’t hit me as hard this year and here is why:
EXERCISE IN THE MORNING. Whether you leave your house to go to the gym or workout at home, get it out of the way in the AM. It’s the perfect way to start the day; instead of dragging ass and rolling up to work groggy and crabby, exercising in the morning will provide the energy you need to get you through the coldest days of the year. This tip has helped me in so many ways; I wonder how many lifts I would have skipped had I told myself I’d do it after work.
KEEP ACTIVE. Physical activity provides relief to depression, anxiety, and any other mental health issue you may experience so this tip is for life, not just for winter. I always say this, but I need the gym more for my mental health than anything. You'll never regret a workout; the hardest part is just motivating yourself to get there. You know I'm right!
DON'T GO HOME STRAIGHT AFTER WORK. If I want to get anything done after work, I literally cannot go home because as soon as I sit down, it's game over and I can pretty much plan on doing a whole lot of nothing the rest of the night. Make plans straight after work and instead of going home "to rest", just go to the gym, head to the store. Like Nike says, just do it.
TAKE A VITAMIN D SUPPLEMENT. One reason why flu/cold season hits so hard in the dead of winter is because of the lack of sun AKA vitamin D. Many diseases are correlated with low levels of vitamin D, including depression.
BOOK A VACATION. Something to look forward to is ALWAYS a good idea.
TALK ABOUT IT. Talk to your friends, family, or seek professional help if needed. SAD if a real thing and you should not be ashamed of it. Your feelings are valid.
CREATE A PEACEFUL ENVIRONMENT. Light some candles, take a bath, cuddle up with tons of blankets—these are a few things that make me feel a little bit happier and a little more at peace, in addition to keeping my living space clean and tidy.
These are things that have helped me combat the side effects of SAD. If you would like to share some things that have helped you, please do in the comments below.