Monday, 14 December 2015

Beating the Winter Blues

Amidst the grey skies, shorter days, and cold weather it's quite easy to slip into a bit of a funk - otherwise known as the winter blues. This is something I've experienced over the last few years, particularly heightened since I came to university. Quite honestly, come winter time I barely ever want to leave the house. Now keep in mind, I'm typically avoiding the gale force winds and knee high snow that accompany a Canadian winter. Over the last few years I've become familiar with the term SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).

SAD is a type of depression that accompanies a change in weather, you typically feel the effects of SAD in the fall and it drags out throughout the winter months - and if you live anywhere like I do these long winters make for absolute hell on earth. Just like depression, SAD can become absolutely debilitating. Even if you don't experience SAD and simply seem to fall into a bit of a temporary funk come winter time, you'll be familiar with the complete lack of motivation, and exhaustion. This year, I decided to be proactive about my SAD. I'm tired of feeling this way each winter, and I want to do as much as I can to avoid having to undergo this this winter. As I said SAD can be entirely debilitating and being a university student it can be absolutely miserable having to undergo this funk during your exams.

 Now, I'm not claiming this to be any sort of cure but these are some of the things I've been adamant on including into my routine this winter to try and keep my SAD relatively contained.

Firstly, I recommend picking up a "SAD lamp". Light technology can help improve your moods, your ability to focus, your motivation, and energy levels. I purchased mine on November 1st (I wasn't kidding about being proactive), and have been using it twice a day and have so far noticed quite a difference! I read that it is recommended that you turn your light on when you wake up and before you go to bed to create the illusion of longer daylight (as lack daylight is a contributor to SAD). I also use it when I'm studying or working on term papers to help with my focus and concentration. I purchased mine of amazon for around $50, again they are an investment but if this is something you go through it does make a world of a difference. There are several models, some quite a pretty penny but I find mine to work really well for a fair price. You can purchase the same one I have here.

My next tip - stay hydrated! Your hydration levels are crucial to anxiety. It's important to drink a lot of water for an endless amount of reasons but I've definitely noticed how crucial this can be for how I'm feeling. If you have anxiety and ever wonder why you feel particularly anxious after a night of drinking (some call it "hangover anxiety") it is due to your dehydration. When I first learned this my mind was b l o w n.

Lastly, get some fresh air each day. I know in exams and if you work from home it's all to easy to get cooped up inside but just spending a few minutes outside, just enough to get some fresh air, can make a world of a difference.

I hope these tips help as winter rolls in!


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