How to Beat the Winter Blues and S.A.D to Stay Productive
We're in the dead of winter and I don't know about you, but I am starting to feel the winter blues. I've talked before about how winter is my favorite season for working and it is, because no one goes outside or does anything, everyone is in hibernation mode. Which is true, winter is a time I spend getting a bunch of work done and saving money. But winter can be a little depressing.
An estimated 10-20% of Americans get mild SAD with the changing seasons, with higher risk in darker, more northern locales; if you do get it, SAD usually starts in your 20s. We're outside less so we're not getting as much of that sweet, sweet vitamin D. Plus we're not being as social because let's face it, no one wants to trek to brunch when the feels like temperature is -13 degrees.
The official name for the winter blues is seasonal affective disorder or S.A.D. (fitting right). It can cause you to feel lethargic, depressed and just all around bleh. I find that once the excitement of a new year and New year resolutions wears off, S.A.D. comes on in full force. So how do we beat the winter blues so we can continue to be productive even when we're feeling tired?
Here are some ways that help me beat S.A.D.:
I know, groundbreaking. But like Elle Woods said, working out gives you endorphins and endorphins make you happy. Working out is a great way to get your blood pumping and make you feel more awake. You can workout at home when the weather is bad, but I highly suggest braving the cold and actually going to the gym, better yet, take a fitness class with a friend. That way, you're getting those endorphins while also getting some social interaction. Which leads me to my next strategy to beat the winter blues.
Hang out with other human beings.
Don't get me wrong, my dog is an amazing cuddler and I love hanging out with her on the couch during a snowstorm for some quality binge watching. But just hanging out with friends can help to lift your spirits. Try going to happy hour after work. You're already outside so you might as well have a little fun. A fun night with your besties can leave you feeling refreshed and happy.
Try something new.
You probably have some extra time on your hands during the winter months so why not use that time to pick up a new hobby or learn something new. Diving into an interesting activity can help take your mind off the fact that you haven't left your apartment or changed out of your sweats for the last 48 hours. If you had learn to play guitar on your new years resolutions list, now is the time to channel your inner Jack white. Just think about how great it will be come spring, when you emerge from your hibernation den with a fun New party trick or topic of conversation.There are some other more medical ways to help with your SAD including getting a Light box that mimics sunlight, taking supplements, and of course, talking to a mental health professional. If you find yourself with more than a mild case of the winter blues, I definitely suggest talking to a professional. But, for those of you, like me, who just feel a small mix of being tired and unmotivated, try the above strategies to kick your winter blues.
How do you beat SAD?