If you feel like you may have Winter Anxiety and Depression, you are not alone. One of the reasons you may be feeling worse during this time is because of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
During the Winter the days are shorter, there is less natural sunlight and the weather can be awful. Because of this you might feel more anxious and depressed from October to March.
Symptoms of SAD
Symptoms may include:
- low mood
- more irritable
- feeling depressed often
- low interest in hobbies you used to enjoy
- low self esteem
- higher anxiety
- feeling worthless
- trouble sleeping
- low energy
One in 15 people in the UK is said to have SAD. If you are someone who experiences these symptoms during Winter, there are many things that you can do to improve your mood.
How to beat Winter Anxiety and Depression
1. Eat well
It can be tempting to carb load when it’s cold, but this isn’t doing any favours to your mental health and self esteem. Make sure you are eating a balanced diet rich in fruit and veg. I find soups are a good Winter meal which are healthy but still satisfying.
Read more about which foods you should eat with depression and anxiety here.
2. Get outside
No-one wants to go outside when its freezing, rainy and dark.
But as the Norweigans say ‘There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing’.
So wrap up as best you can and make the most of the sunny days when they happen! You need the sunlight so your skin can produce vitamin D, which helps fight depression.
Exercise is probably THE best way to help you with SAD. It has been proven to lift your mood by releasing chemicals in your brain such as seratonin and endorphins. If you have a gym, make sure it is close to home and convenient so you are more likely to go.
Going to the gym might be the last thing you feel like when you suffer from Winter anxiety and depression, but you can learn how to motivate yourself to exercise when you don’t even feel like moving at all.
If you really can’t face leaving the house, there are plenty of HIIT classes on youtube that you can do from the comfort of your own home and will only take up 30 mins.
4. Start a new hobby
There are lots of indoor winter hobbies that are less acceptable in summer. Binge watching documentaries, jigsaw puzzles (don’t judge me), knitting, caligraphy, playing the piano, learning a language.
5. Remember to socialise
Seeing as people aren’t as willing to leave their houses as much as in Summer, you might find your social life is dwindling which could lead to feeling of depression.
Make sure you make the effort to see your friends. You could organise a cosy film night in with some good food and wine…… then they all have to come to you!
6. Try light therapy box
Some people have found light therapy helps alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety during Winter. The light box compensates for the natural light you are missing out on during the shorter days.
7. Go to your doctor
If SAD is severely affecting your life, you should go and see your doctor.
8. Meditation app
These can help reduce anxiety and stress. There are many mental health apps on the market, including breathing exercises, mindfulness, calming techniques and stories to help you sleep.
Journaling has many benefits for mental health. It can make you feel calmer, clear your head and help you identify and solve problems more effectively.
10. Remember self care
Self care is so important every time of year, but even more so when you are dealing with SAD. Run a nice bath with some lavender oil, a good book, a candle and a glass of wine.
11. Go on holiday
If all else fails, book a holiday so you can catch up on all the vitamin D you missed out on!