We made it through February, everyone. Phew. But winter’s not quite over yet. If these freezing temps, snow banks, and early sunsets are getting you down, you’re not alone. Many of us are bummed out by this tough winter, and researchers suspect Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, affects many of us, possibly up to 20%.
To treat SAD, doctors may recommend light therapy, vitamin D, diet and exercise changes, or antidepressants.
What do you find that works well for a pick-me-up on these cold days? Here are a few of our favorites.
Practice acts of gentle self care.
Sometimes the little things make all the difference. When it’s cold and miserable outside, treating our mind and body with care goes a long way. Here are a few things we swear by:
A microwavable herbal heat pack like this one smells great, warms you up, and can ease muscle tension.
At-home spa night with a bubble bath and coconut oil as a full-body moisturizer is heavenly. The coconut smell makes us feel like we’re on vacation!
Massage (we have to admit!) always helps as a mood booster and stress reliever.
Bundle up and go outside anyway.
The cold is harsh, but wearing a couple scarves, some long underwear, and a hat makes a big difference, and there’s just no good substitute for being out and about in the world. A nice long walk does wonders for stress and sadness. Watching the sky turn pink at sun set, seeing dogs run around in the snow, or just getting a breath of fresh air feels good, even when it’s cold.
Getting out and helping others can be just the perspective shift we need when we’re feeling low and lonely. Studies have shown that volunteering can make people feel more socially connected, thus warding off loneliness and depression. And, volunteering may have physical benefits, too. In a Carnegie Mellon study, adults over 50 who volunteered on a regular basis were less likely to develop high blood pressure than non-volunteers. What’s better than helping others AND helping yourself? If you're looking for ideas, Massage Williamsburg owner Rachel Beider loves volunteering her time at Friends In Deed.
Let us know what helps you stay warm, happy, and active! And keep positive—spring is almost here.