Winter months bring many joyful activities, such as the holiday season, playing in the snow, or the cozy feeling of coming inside and enjoying a warm drink after being out in the cold all day. However, for some individuals, the winter months can bring on a feeling of sadness. Depression that arrives or worsens during the winter months may be a sign of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Which is a form of depression that is triggered by changes in daylight and weather that occur primarily in winter.
Signs and Symptoms of SAD
- Feelings of depression that happen most of the day, every day, in a seasonal pattern
- Experiencing tiredness or low energy
- Loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy
- Sleeping too much
- Changes in appetite/ or weight gain
- Feeling sad/ guilty/ or down on yourself
How to Support Yourself
Set yourself up in the fall
Set up a routine in the fall to help your body transition into shorter days and into winter months. Your routine could include aiming for 7-8 hours of sleep per night, eating nutrient-dense foods, and including daily movement.
Daylight savings time is upon us, and our bodies are greatly impacted by a reduction of sunlight. We may feel more irritable, fatigued, lethargic, and/or reduced emotional bandwidth. Get outside as much as you can during the afternoon to take advantage of what sunlight we have. If you commute to and from work in the dark, try to take a 30-minute walk on your lunch break if possible. When you are indoors, open your blinds and get as much natural light in as you can.
A time for reflection
Winter is a time when nature is dormant and resting, signalling for us to pause and reflect. This year try to not get caught up in the bustle of the season and truly slow down and enjoy it. The cooler months are a great time to start incorporating meditation practice. Our Naturopathic Doctor, Dr. Katie, recommends the following meditation apps to help you get started - Insight Timer, Headspace, or Calm.
Plan activities to look forward to! Initiate conversations with friends, plan outings and engage in clubs or the community. Having connections in real life can make a big difference in not feeling alone. If you struggle to make real-world connections, as opposed to online connections, I recommend picking up a copy of Dr. Katie’s book Create Calm and reading chapter 21, which is all about community and putting yourself out there. Pick up a complimentary copy for a limited time in the front reception area of the clinic!
The staff at Norfolk Chiropractic Wellness Centre hope these strategies help you transition into the winter months with ease!
by Kelly Verstraete, CHA