Aaah, the cold, the snow, hot cocoa, vacations…the dream for some people. Just not for everyone, and it’s okay.
During the past years there've been a lot of friends who come from different backgrounds, who have shared with us how the snow days don’t come with happiness attached to them as it could be for some of us. This is due to several reasons, it can be because they didn’t grow up with the snow and they don’t like winter sports (also, they tend to be a little expensive), or simply because they were used to a different ambiance and temperature during the winter. (Some of Latin America’s countries are in summer during November-December). If they’re immigrants living in another country, they probably miss their traditions and the gathering with their loved ones. But there’s also a high chance that they’re suffering from Winter Blues. Which is not just a great name for a jazz song, but actually a type of depression caused by the winter.
Winter Blues has been medically named ‘Seasonal Affective Dissorder’ (SAD), and its existence has to do with the lack of daylight. Since the winter has shorter daylight hours, our body produces an excess of melatonin (which is the sleep hormone), causing some people a sturdy feeling of slowness and less interest in activities they usually enjoy. It’s also important to acknowledge that SAD not only affects adults, it can affect people of any age (yes, even kids.)
If you are going through a case of Winter Blues or know someone who is, here are some expert tips that can help.
- Drink a cup of Hot Cocoa. This sounds almost like a joke, but doctors specialized in nutrition like Susan Kleiner, PhD, RD, explain that having this drink in the afternoon helps you in your sleep and because of its components (protein, carbohydrates and vitamin D) it can help our body increase serotonin levels. Serotonin, also known as the happy chemical, is a neurotransmitter that makes our brain and body feel good.
- Look for daylight. It might be a little cold, but a little sun will definitely make you feel better. Try going outside for a light walk in the sun. If you really don’t want to go outside, look for a spot in your house that has some natural light. Sit there for a while and enjoy.
- Eat healthier. Yes, we know it is by far one of the most difficult times to avoid comfort foods. And it’s not about avoiding them at all costs, it’s all about balance. Having a good diet can give us the right amount of nutrients that will boost our energy.
- Exercise. Making our body move creates antidepressants that will make you feel better. Try it out for at least 20 minutes!
- Consider talking to a therapist. It’s completely natural and okay to talk to a professional that can help us about our feelings. You matter 💜
- Make a list of activities for your day. Having plans and checking them off little by little is a rewarding experience.
- What’s your favorite feel good movie? Is there someone that will definitely make you laugh? Whether that person is a fictional character or a real one, make time for a happy moment in your day.
- Keep yourself warm. Use the coziest blanket you have, have a hot drink and a warm plate of food. Staying warm can help you beat SAD.