Photo Courtesy of Mark Lacy @ Anylightphoto.com
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a condition that effects many people around the world. Especially In Northern Utah, we have a distinct winter season that is punctuated by “The Inversion.” The Inversion, familiar to those of us along the Wasatch front, is when our beautiful valleys act as a bowl which collects a lid of thick pollutants trapped in an icy cold air. The result is poor air quality and day after day of dark, gloomy skies. And it seems to go on and on…
Here are some tips to avoid the seasonal depression that can result from these long winter months:
Take a Vacation
I know, pretty obvious. But It doesn’t have to be an expensive cruise. Sometimes, you just need to get out of the valley to feel a little better. Even spending an evening or overnight in warmer parts of the state where there is likely to be more sun and warmer temperatures, can give you the mental boost you need. Set some gift money aside and buy experiences which provide lasting memories.
Get Above it All
Utah is obviously known for its winter sports, so are you taking advantage of that? Go high up in the mountains to get above the inversion and go skiing, snowboarding, etc!
Stay Active (indoors)
Join a gym, an indoor soccer league, go to a skating rink, walk the local mall before work, find a yoga class; whatever it is, keep your mind and body healthy by staying active inside where the air pollutants aren’t such a big factor.
Spend time with friends or make new friends (in person!)
Maybe you don’t have a friend group you regularly spend time with. Start attending community groups or activities with common goals in mind. These groups can often be found on Facebook, but make sure to take part in the in-person get together's they may plan. Keeping up with your social connections can improve depression and distract you from the cold temperatures.
Get Up Earlier and Go to Bed Earlier
Due to Daylight Saving, darkness comes sooner than usual. If you are in a habit of sleeping in, you are missing out on precious daylight hours and we need the sun! So get on an early schedule and stay on it, even when you have holiday time-off.
Focus on the Holidays
This doesn’t just mean the big ones-- Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s. No, make plans for even smaller holidays or make up your own! A lot of people experience an emotional letdown after the big holidays. Pare back on those and plan a couple smaller get-togethers in January, February and March. Maybe a popcorn party for National Popcorn Day on January 19th, for example? Check out this calendar to see what fun days you could make in to a celebration!
Try Sun Light Therapy
Lack of sunlight has been shown to lead to decrease in mood. Try a sun lamp such as this one to help fight the effects of lack of sun light.
Get a Workbook Like This One and use the long, evening hours for self-reflection and improvement.
Go to Therapy
Sometimes, you just need to talk it out. You need to be heard. When your mood is low you tend to feel less satisfied with your work, relationships, and your life. Make an appointment with a therapist and they will be happy to help you figure out how to beat those winter blues!
Remember, Spring is Coming
Winter comes to an end. It does every year. Winter won’t last forever but keeping active and emotionally healthy can help it feel more enjoyable and perhaps even make it feel like it passed a little quicker! Make the best of these 3 (to 5) months and yet use the comparison of those long, dark, cold days to really appreciate the rest of the seasons!
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