Updated: Sep 18
It was mid October, the foliage had changed color and the air was crisp and cold. I was feeling lazy and sluggish and my energy was super low.
I had no idea what was going on.
All I knew was that I didn’t want to get out of bed and do my chores for the day. I was oversleeping and tired.
Worse, I was moody.
My health was declining, my children were being affected and my relationship was at stake.
This went on for 8 years.
Then I relocated to Florida. A warmer climate, basically where there was no fall and winter and that is when I realized that for the past 8 years I was a victim of seasonal depression.
Now that I’m back in the cold climate and I know that starting from fall into the winter months the cold weather blues are going to take over and make me feel gloomy and sad,. Therefore, I’m taking all measures to be prepared.
The thing with the winter blues or any sort of depression is that once you are in the rut, you can’t tell that you are depressed.
So often I meet women, who clearly have all signs of winter depression but they are not aware of it. And if you are not aware then you can’t help yourself.
The key here is to be prepared and start early, as soon as fall begins. Taking preemptive measure will help you recognize the symptoms and keep them at bay.
Earlier this week, I collaborated with Professional Confidence Strategist and Coach, Melissa Howard to share with you 3 ways that helped us cope with winter depression. For the past 4 years I have been taking the following steps to keep my mood and motivation steady.
Just by being aware that when the sun doesn’t show often, you’re moody and your energy is low, kills half of the depression.
The idea is to live in the moment. Watch how you’re thinking in present, how you’re feeling, how you’re behaving. By keeping a check on yourself, you will be able to point out anything that’s unusual and nip it in the bud before it takes over all your emotions.
Mindset is key. The next to two points build up on this and support a healthy mindset.
Change in appetite is a symptom of winter depression. Chances are you will be craving more sugar and we all know that sugary foods and processed carbs, such as bread are easy food to grab and are addicting. Especially when you are feeling low and don’t have the energy to get out of bed to prep up for a healthy meal, you will go for one more chocolate frosted donut.
And your gut health impacts your mood.
Further eating all these unnecessary calories will make you gain weight and then the extra pounds will make you unhappy. Again.
See the cycle here?
To stop yourself from grabbing the junk, make sure to keep your refrigerator stocked with plenty of vegetables and probiotics, such as greek yogurt. Melissa suggests to meal prep at the beginning of the season and freeze in small batches. Her favorite thing is to prepare a big pot of soup and freeze in small containers for days when she is not in the mood to cook a healthy meal.
If you have been a part of my community for a while, you know very well that creating an environment that triggers positive emotions, through art and colors has been a life saver for me. It is necessary that the story your environment is telling is in alignment with your mindset.
SAD occurs because there is a huge change in your environment. In this case, it is the infrequent visits of Mr.Golden Sun. Though I can not bring more sunlight, but I can trick my brain to trigger positive emotions. And we all know that the way we feel influences the way we behave. Hence, if you are feeling positive you will have the energy to get out of bed and get your chores done.
Research shows that color is a very easy and fun way to enhance positive emotions. To trigger feelings of happiness and optimism, sprinkle a little bit of yellow around you. Yellow is a psychological primary and is related to emotions and the nervous system. It will create sense of light and warmth in your spaces during the cold dark days.
Ever noticed how the atmosphere in a fast food restaurant is really “fast" moving? Consider McDonald’s for example, there is a lot of yellow in their branding. What the yellow does is, energizes you and makes you move quickly. Strategic branding at its best!
Whatever tone of yellow speaks to you will work. But the key here is small doses.
If you have been craving a bigger and brighter space, find my top 3 tips to create the illusion of a large space here.
These are simple lifestyle changes that have worked for us and can work for you, in improving your wellbeing.
Leave a comment and share your best tip for coping up with the winter blues, so others can benefit too!!
DISCLAIMER: We are sharing what has helped us improve our wellbeing. If your symptoms are severe, we urge you to see a health care provider