Seasonal Depression and Winter Self Care… why it is so important.
Self care for Seasonal Depression is something I have used a lot. During the winter I either feel super happy and festive, or a little mopey.
The ice and snow are so pretty to look at,
and getting together with my girl friends to have hot cocoa or coffee at the bookstore while doing our Christmas shopping is one of my favorite things.
But it does get rough with the lack of sunshine and it getting darker earlier.
I am not a night person.
And if I’m home alone when it starts to get dark out it can be easy to feel down in the dumps.
Especially during the holidays.
Implementing a special winter self care routine can be a life saver if you suffer from seasonal affective disorder, or even just need a mood lifter during the cold months ahead.
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What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a mood disorder that starts to be effective when the seasons start to change.
This is different for everyone, because it doesn’t necessarily effect just the winter months, thought that is when most people get the worst symptoms.
Some of the symptoms of SAD include:
-Lack of interest
-Fluctuations in weight (either by loss or gain).
Suffering from SAD doesn’t mean you hate the Holidays
Having seasonal depression doesn’t mean you are Ebeneezer Scrooge or the Grinch.
I know many people who LOVE the holiday season and still get pretty sad during this time of the year. The two don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand.
There is nothing wrong with you if you feel sad during the holiday season. It just means that you need to take a little extra care of yourself.
1. Use a Winter Self Care plan to give you something to look forward to
Having something to look forward to after work or school can literally make the rest of the day better.
Knowing that when you get home you have blocked out time for yourself can give you motivation to finish the day strong.
Using Self care for Seasonal Depression really can help!
Give yourself permission to take a bath after work, read for an hour, or go on a walk.
Whatever sounds like a fun, relaxing break from obligation to you, do it.
Related Content: How to use Hygge to actually enjoy Winter
2. Sticking to a routine can increase dopamine
Sticking to a routine can scientifically make you feel good.
When we reach a goal, spend time with a loved one, accomplish something, or even just check off a box on our “to-do” list, our brain’s release a chemical called dopamine.
It’s like our bodies very own “feel good” drug.
Start using a a self care checklist for yourself to check off each night.
This can increase your dopamine levels, making you automatically feel happier and more accomplished.
Related Content: Balance your Hormones to restore your mental health
3. Have a warm treat to look forward to every day
One of the best things is having something good to look forward to at the end of the night.
My favorite brand for self care treats is Four Sigmatic.
They make a Reishi Hot Cacao that relieves stress, while tasting like a traditional cocoa!
4. A Warm Bath is a good thing
The warm bath water will make you forget all about the cold looming outside.
This will also give you some nice, quiet time to yourself.
Getting bath salts, candles, incense or soothing music are other good things to add!
5. Plan time with friends
Even though this isn’t alone time, being with friends during rough times is still a form of self care.
Being alone can cause you to feel the effects of SAD more.
Call your friends, family or even neighbors and see if you can plan some fun, holiday activities together!
Or if you don’t enjoy the holidays, maybe just some good quality time.
There are ways to counteract Seasonal Depression without medication
You do not need medication to start feeling happier and healthier.
There are natural ways that you can start to increase your mental health, and promote a happier mind without anti-depressants or medication.
Those should always be a last resort.
Start by taking healthier supplements like Vitamin D and Vitamin B-12.
One of the reasons we start to feel sad and melancholy in the winter is a lack of Vitamin D.
The sun is always hidden behind clouds or snow, and we can start to feel mopey because of it.
You can go to your local health food store or pharmacy and pick up a Vitamin D supplement for fairy cheap.
Vitamin B-12 deficiency is fairly common, and can be related to depression and anxiety.
Taking a supplement version of Vitamin B-12 can be very beneficial in helping you combat seasonal depression and seasonal affective disorder.
With anything, consult your Health Care Practitioner before trying any new supplements, and read our disclaimer here if you have any questions about our opinions or statements about trying new health care products.
Starting a Winter Self Care Routine
Let’s get you started with a winter self care plan!
You can start a new self care routine at any point, and switching up your routine for winter can be both fun, and helpful for this time of the year.
If you need help starting a self care routine, or would do well with a guided eBook for better mental health and self care, check out my book 30 Days to Inner Peace, and try implementing it into your routine this winter.
Related Content: How to be better at Practicing Self Care
Winter Self Care Items Checklist
- Happy Lamp
- Comfy and happy winter wardrobe
- Festive Candles
- Mindfulness Journal
- Vitamin D and B12 supplements
- Warm Winter Drinks
Winter Self Care Activity Checklist
- Regular Exercise
- Scheduled time with friends
- Scheduled time to be outside during sunshine hours
- Start a winter reading list
- Make a day for holiday baking with friends or family
- Don’t skip out on special events