A lot of people, including yours truly, struggle with seasonal depression. Even if you don’t have any mental health conditions, the cold months and lack of sunlight can have a profound effect on your mood and productivity.
Historically, humans would gather together during the winter months, cozy up around a warm fire, tell stories and take the dark time of the year to be in community with each other and rest and recoup after the harvest season. This time taken to bond and rejuvenate allowed humans to be in top form and ready for the spring. Modern humans, don’t have the luxury to take time to recharge, enjoy the stillness of the world and sleep the cold days away. It’s completely normal to feel more sluggish and tired when the world around you has taken a slumber. Unfortunately, we live in a time when productivity is expected to keep pace all year round.
We do have some tools available to keep us in good spirits and going until the sun returns:
- Snuggle with your loved ones and pets! If you don’t have a partner this winter season, cuddle up with your friends, family and your four-legged pals. As long as everyone is comfortable with snuggling, it’s a great way to connect with each other and keep warm! If you can gather in front of a fireplace all the better!
- Read a good book. Reading a book about something your excited about can engage your mind and distract you from the gloomy weather.
- Enjoy warm tea or cocoa. Drinking warm beverages can warm you up inside and help you feel cozy when the weather outside is frigid.
- Brave the weather to take a walk in nature. If you have the time when the sun is still out, taking a short 10 minute walk can help life your spirits and remind you that the good days aren’t too far away. Take the time to admire the beauty of winter, the fresh snow, the sparkling icicles, the beauty of the earth at rest. Connecting with nature is a great way to remind yourself that it’s okay to take a break and slow down, the earth itself does it every year!
- Play in the snow! Instead of fighting the cold and the season change, enjoy the winter weather and remember how excited snow and frozen ponds made you feel as a kid! That joy and wonder is still there when you engage in play!
- Use essential oils! Uplifting essential oils, like bergamot, lemon and orange can remind you of the spring and boost your mood. Grounding soothing oils like lavender, sandalwood and patchouli can bring you to the present moment and help relieve the stress and worry of the holidays. Essential oils can be diluted in carrier oils, like I use in my massage practice, they can be added to a bath or they can be diffused in a diffuser. Never ingest essential oils and do not apply them to the skin undiluted.
- Carry crystals related to the sun with you! Crystals related to sunlight can help connect you to that energy and relieve some of the sadness. Citrine, sunstone and lepidolite are just 3 great examples of such stones. You can find many quality crystals at metaphysical stores like Aquarius KC.
- Up your vitamin D! Vitamin D is one of the main vitamins we get from sunlight. During winter, depleted vitamin D levels can increase depression and anxiety. Be sure to talk to your doctor before starting any new vitamin or supplement regimen!
- Get a massage! Massage has an impact on lowering the stress hormones responsible for the “flight-or-flight” response. Massage also releases neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, endorphins and oxytocin that are responsible for a sense of well-being. Those feel good chemicals can help fight the winter blues for days!
Hopefully this list will help you make the most of the cold season and allow you to feel your best. It’s okay to take time and slow down when the world does and when you can’t do that these tips can help you stay motivated and get through until those spring days.