You’ve heard jokes, you’ve seen the Twitter posts and memes, and you’ve probably felt these emotions at least to an extent. Some people feel this “seasonal depression” or seasonal affective disorder very strong.
Basically, as the weather turns cold, the days turn shorter and it gets colder, darker and wetter outside some people find it hard to get up in the morning, they get negative, depressive feelings. If a person already has depression, anxiety or another condition this seasonal change can send their lives into a downwards spiral. Feelings of exhaustion, hopelessness, lack of motivation, isolating from your friends and more can be signs this is occurring.
Everything aside, while seasonal depression occurs in most people, if you are severely suffering or feel this is becoming threatening to your well being please seek help. If you just mildly feel these conditions and are looking for ways to better manage the seasonal change this post is for you:
If you are just feeling disassociated, tired, and discombobulated by the weather change here are some tips for you!
Set a Routine It is cold, and the days are darker so it is easy to slip into the habit of napping and losing track of what time it is. Day fades into nights and dreary weather, we sometimes don’t see the sunlight for days. Set a routine for yourself including scheduling meal times, personal self care time, and time to do your classwork. When you wake up in the morning it might be cold and miserable, but getting out of bed and going to your classes or work is very important. Once you start skipping you are putting yourself behind schedule and it will make it harder and harder to keep up. (For college students: give yourself 1-3 mental health days a semester but make sure you don’t skip the same class multiple times when you can.) In the winter, I get up earlier so I can make time to eat a warm bowl of oatmeal with cinnamon sugar and make myself fresh coffee to get myself started for the day.
When winter starts take $5-10 and buy yourself a Starbucks (or other coffeehouse) gift card. Save that gift card for a day where you truly feel you can’t get up, and then treat yourself when you need it the most! You don’t need anyone to make you feel special except yourself.
Dress Cozy, But Nice:
While it is easy to get trapped in an endless cycle of sweatpants and sweatshirts, its important to build a comfortable wardrobe that makes you feel good about yourself. A pair of worn in boyfriend jeans, cozy but colorful cable knit sweaters, and cute hats and scarves. How good does it feel when someone gives you a compliment about your outfit? For me, winter must haves include thick thigh high socks that can be scrunched down with leather ankle boots, loose fitting jeans, lots of knit sweaters, and a ton of berets and driver caps. Even leggings can be made fashionable if you wear ones that are knit or patterned like these: (Left: Free People ||Right: Outdoor Voices)
How you perceive yourself can really impact your mood and energy levels. Set your clothes out the night before so you can just slip out of your warm bed and bundle up in even warmer clothes. Making this little effort will keep you spirit up and make your morning routine easier.
My friend Angelina (IG: angelinaubriaco) is queen of dressing cozy comfy. Check a few of my favorite looks of hers below:
Self Care Is a Must! Dry skin, cracked lips, bitten cuticles, brittle breaking nail beds and static hair. All these things make me cringe but they are realities with weather change. In the previous two points I mentioned how you need to schedule self care time, and the importance of the “look good, feel good” philosophy, so now we are going to elaborate more. While what we wear can impact our mood, our actual skin and body can impact our moods even worse.
Its crucial that you exfoliate regularly as your skin starts to shed the summer tans away, dead skin will cause dandruff in the winter and it will also clog and damage your pores. The next recommendation will make everyone moan and groan, but for real, scheduling physical activity into your schedule can really help boost your mood. Winter is the time to build your summer bod anyway! Even doing yoga at home following a yoga video can help your blood flow and keep you flexible and active. If you are feeling more adventurous a way to socialize and exercise is to take advantage of work out classes such as Soul Cycle, group yoga classes, runs in the park (NYC people near Central Park I’m talking to you) or getting a gym membership/using your school gym are all great ideas. The beautiful sparkly lady pictured above is a workout fanatic and also happens to be one of the actual happiest people I have ever met. Working out gives your brain time to thunk freely and relax while you focus. It also encourages and influx of natural endorphins and makes you feel better about yourself when you see results.
I wrote a post on self care last year which is very helpful HERE. It talks about teas, essential oils, sleep schedule and more!
Besides the tips in that post, using items such as hair masks, face masks and making sure we take care of ourselves will keep us feeling healthier and happier.
Friends Will Help You:
Don’t isolate yourself this fall and winter. Making efforts to stay in contact with friends can help keep you busy and make you happier. Even when I am super busy with midterms or super over scheduled, I make time to talk with my friends by calling them and chatting to keep up with their lives and everyday updates. Besides phone communication, I also try 1-3 times a week get together with friends whether it be to go out for dinner, brunch, yoga or just hang out and watch movies or catch up over a cup of coffee between classes. It has been alternating between cold rainy spells and random days of super nice weather, so when we have a random nice weathered day, I definitely try to sit outside at cafes or go for walks. Honoring my love for a few of my many amazing friends I’ve included pictures from some of their social medias because they really inspire me so so much. I really treasure these moments and have come to realize that investing in the RIGHT people is the best investment I can make in my own happiness. I’m going to leave this off with two pictures of my best friend smiling because she is the type of person who reminds me that happiness is contagious and one of the only people who has consistently dealt with my depressive mood swings for almost ten years:
What do you do personally to help with the season change? Comment below!
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