Not all of us are excited about the increasing chill in the air or the crinkle of fallen leaves beneath our feet. Not everyone finds the first snow of the year a magical, long-awaited event. For some people, the holidays are stressful, lonely, and difficult. You might call it the “Winter Blues,” but Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a real thing. The winter months can be really gloomy and challenging for some people.
During the winter months, when the hours of daylight are shortened, it can be helpful to have a “happy light,” or light therapy lamp, to make up for those missing rays. These lamps mimic the light from the sun, which triggers the production of vitamin D and serotonin, regulating body cycles and mood. Not your typical lamp, these therapy lamps use a special type of light much brighter than your regular light fixtures. In addition to combating seasonal depression, therapy lamps can help manage circadian rhythms, improving sleep and energy levels.
Never heard of negative ions? Here’s a brief science lesson. Natural processes — like radiation from the sun, the movement of the wind, or the flow of water — break up tiny molecules in the atmosphere, causing their gains and losses of electrons to create ions, or electrically charged atoms. Crisp mountain air, crashing ocean waves, and rushing waterfalls are just some environments where you’ll find tons of these negative ions. While more research needs to be done, studies at Columbia University found negative ion generators to be as affective as antidepressants in relieving depression. They increase oxygen flow to the brain and are believed to increase serotonin levels and possibly relieve allergies through their air purification. (Negative Ions Create Positive Vibes by Denise Mann)
Mood Boosting Supplements
As previously mentioned, vitamin D is an important element provided by the sun, which most adults are lacking during the winter months. But other vitamins and minerals might also be lacking in your diet. Making sure you have sufficient, balanced levels of these vitamins and minerals will improve your bodily functions. These mood boosting supplements particularly focus on increasing serotonin and dopamine levels to elevate your mood and increase your energy levels.
New to aromatherapy? The use of essential oils in the treatment of mental health is still a fairly new concept in the United States, but was used by ancient civilizations thousands of years ago. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Aromatherapy is thought to work by stimulating smell receptors in the nose, which then send messages from the nervous system to the limbic system — the part of the brain that controls emotions.” You can get these essential oils in a number of different ways, including diffusing them in the shower or through a special oil diffuser, soaking in them in a bath, or applying them directly to your skin.
When it’s really cold and you don’t want to have to layer a million blankets, or wait for the bed to warm up from your body heat, an electric blanket is a great option. Just like warming the shower before you hop in, you can have your bed feeling nice and cozy when you snuggle in at night.
Something as simple as fuzzy socks might sound silly, but if you’re more comfortable physically, you’ll be in a better mood mentally. And having something cute or fun to look forward to can help you focus on the positive aspects of the winter months and maintain a happier perspective. It’s similar to getting excited about pumpkin spice candles in the store, pulling out the Christmas decorations, or making special holiday goodies… pursuing things that are unique to that season can help you appreciate it more.
Plants can help with seasonal depression in several ways. We all know they purify the air, providing you cleaner oxygen to breathe in, enhancing your physical and mental well-being. But plants also increase humidity and regulate temperature, which might not make a huge impact in a large home, but can definitely help improve the atmosphere of a small apartment or office. Having something to take care of can also give you a feeling of responsibility, pride, and accomplishment.
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