Living in Ohio, I’ve had to learn how to deal with/cope with the bleak and dreary winters. The medical term is Seasonal Affective Disorder – literally SAD for short. They couldn’t have picked a more appropriate name. Many people are affected by it differently – some experience worse winter depression than others. I am fortunate in that it has never been debilitating for me – I honestly just find it harder to get motivated and get happy.
I know I am not the only person who struggles with this. And it honestly seems to be compounded now that I have a toddler who also gets cabin fever. I wanted to put together a list of things that I do in the winter when I start to feel the SAD set in, or I’m feeling generally unmotivated (you can only hide in bed and eat fries and watch Downton Abbey for so long…..or can you?)
| Anthropologie mittens | Anthropologie scarf – so so soft | Asos skirt | booties from Nordstrom | Anthropologie cardigan | Jcrew sweater – one I wear year after year | Madewell sunnies – come in other colors too! |
How I Deal With Seasonal Affective Disorder/Seasonal Depression
The dark and cold makes me want to retreat to the warmth of my bed and hibernate away the winter – dreaming of vacations in warmer locations. But life must go on and I’d much rather choose happiness than sadness, so even though happy requires a little more work in the winter, it’s definitely worth it.
These are a few things that I do to help combat it.
Make Your House Light.
The moment your alarm goes off in the morning, flip on a light. Walk into the closet or the bathroom and turn on a light. Even though it’s dark outside, you’ll have to fake it inside.
I leave the blinds and curtains open in the winter as well. Some people will argue with me about this – that they don’t want to see the dead trees and the snow. But I need the house to be as light as possible – and even when it’s overcast, light reflects off the snow to make it seem brighter outside. And when it’s too cold to go out and enjoy the light – you need to make sure that you can enjoy that brightness inside. As well as making your home light, it is just as important to consider being in a warm and comfortable house, especially in the winter months. There’s nothing worse than being outside all day and then coming home to a house that it equally as cold. My boiler has been playing up recently, which is why being at home feels like I am outside. But after I was recommended to look into cheap home heating oil, I know this problem will be sorted in no time. These are just some ways to deal with the changing of the seasons.
Maybe invest in one of those light therapy lamps that you can turn on in the mornings and evenings when it is dark outside. I have even gone so far as to spend about 10 minutes in a tanning bed a few times a winter. I don’t recommend that last one, but it really does wonders for my mood, personally.
Make Your Bed In The Morning.
I wrote a post a few months ago about the things that I do to help myself be more productive in the mornings, (read that post here), and making the bed first thing every day was one of those things.
Now, I don’t always make it perfectly and gorgeous each morning, sometimes it looks like Cora made it and not me – but the idea is that you start the day with a completed task – even a small one. It sets your intention for the rest of the day.
Not that this is any different than the rest of the year, but it is harder to remember to drink water when you are cold all the time and generally less active. I just leave refillable bottles of water in my car and in Cora’s diaper bag. I seriously have 6 bottles in my car right now.
Plus, my skin gets SO dry in the winter and staying hydrated from the inside helps combat this. We also keep a humidifier running either in the kitchen or in Cora’s room most of the winter as well.
Eat Complex Carbohydrates.
Complex carbohydrates are converted by the body into glucose and used for energy. This seems to be one of my biggest problems in the winter – I honestly feel like caffeine doesn’t even help me anymore…I just never seem to have any energy unless I make a point of eating right. I’m also trying to cut back on refined sugars, but that’s another battle in and of itself.
Get Outside – Kind Of.
You don’t have to spend time outside exactly, but leave the house. Spend time outside of the office. This may be especially difficult for the stay-at-home parents or people who work from home. Budget to have your morning weekend coffee at a cute local cafe. Go see a movie. Get a sitter and schedule a date night once a week.
The point is to get out of the places you spend the most time – your house, your office or other place of employment.
I work from home or a coffee shop three days a week and I stay home with Cora Thursdays and Fridays. I schedule workout classes Monday-Wed and when I’m home with Cora I always make sure that we have at least one outing a day to head some place fun and warm.
Be careful if you are going to go outside to do exercise in the cold weather though. My friend went running as a way to keep fit in the cold months but ended up slipping on ice. She had to go to Physiotherapy London Physio – CK Physiotherapy Ealing, Hanwell to treat her back pain after the fall.
Wearing comfy and cute clothes always helps too. I’ve linked all of the items that I’m wearing below. Many of these cozy items are on sale right now too!
XOXO – Em
Photos by the ever cool Natalie Folchi