Making The Most Of Short Winter Days
Friday Dec 16th, 2022
We have all been here before, deep inside the winter slump. After the clocks go back and the time changes, the days begin and end the same, in complete darkness. Our mood can slowly follow the trend, leaving us tired, irritated and overall sad. The seasonal affective disorder can hit us all hard during a long Canadian winter. This simple fact begs the question, how can I beat it? Although it may feel difficult to rise from the ashes per se, it is possible with a few tweaks to your lifestyle and routine!
SOAK UP THE SUN
Our friend the sun gives our bodies vitamin D, a nutrient we often lack during a long dark winter. This vitamin boosts serotonin levels which keep our energy intake high and our emotional health stable and at peace. The experts say that the early morning sun is the best time to take in quality UV rays for the body! More morning sunlight helps your body produce access melatonin which is the chemical that promotes healthy sleep. To benifit from this, our schedules would need to reflect an early rise time and an early rest time.
GET SOME Z'S
Prioritize your sleep at night and stick to a consistent schedule every day of the week. This may mean going to bed much earlier than you are used to, which may take an adjustment period. Our bodies thrive on routine, which is why it is important to wake up and go to sleep at the same time each day, even on the weekends when possible. Adults need 7-9 hours of healthy sleep each night to take on the day. This step will help to give the body energy, boost immunity and stabilize your mood.
However, with the darker winter days in full swing, you may find it harder to get out of bed in the morning. When you open your eyes and see that it is still dark outside it doesn’t motivate our body to wake up on time. This pattern can lead to a hectic rush out the door that wouldn’t leave anyone in a happy state of mind. To prevent this from happening try putting your phone far from your bed before you go to sleep. This means you will need to get up to turn off your alarm instead of being tempted to hit that snooze button over and over.
CREATE A ROUTINE
It’s important to make a healthy routine that works for you. To properly take on the day, it’s important to set intentions. Make the time each morning to write down what you want to accomplish that day. This act will help your goals to become a reality and keep them fixed in your mind. Here are a few suggestions to add to your schedule to help boost your productivity and mood.
Schedule time to get some exercise during your day. Whether that be a walk outside in the sunshine, hitting up the gym before or after work, or putting on a YouTube video at home to move along to. Exercise boosts endorphin levels in the body which helps to combat the symptoms of depression. During the winter months, we can feel more inclined to sit and relax at home so we recommend scheduling these times to exercise so that we ensure that they happen.
Activities You Love
The winter slump sometimes causes us to neglect what makes us happy. Whether that be spending time with friends, enjoying hobbies, or indulging in some self-care time. Challenge yourself to jump outside of your comfort zone. Although you may not feel like you want to do these things, push yourself to give them a try. You may be surprised by how good they make you feel. Start small by going out for a coffee with a friend, picking up a book again, or taking some time to meditate on your day so far. We don’t have to change our lives in an instant, we can do so gradually, and with an intention to slowly improve how we feel each day.
During the workday, it’s important to schedule proper breaks. In the winter, our bodies have a hard time concentrating and staying productive. To combat these symptoms here are a few suggestions to turn that mindset around. If you find that at midday, you are feeling very tired, try moving around by getting up from your desk. Take a minute to walk around, stretch, or breathe some fresh air. Skip the cup of coffee you typically have to get you through the day and replace it with a glass of water or a nutritious snack if you’re hungry. This five-minute break can be playing with your pet, reconnecting with your body, asking yourself how you’re feeling that day, taking a few deep breaths or texting a friend to say hi. Keep it simple, breaks are important.
We hope that these three main suggestions will help you to emerge from your winter slump, and to come out on the other side happier than before. Sometimes it’s not the season that makes us feel down but it’s the way that we act during it. Continue pushing yourself to live your ‘summer life’ even when it’s snowing.
There is beauty to be found every time of year.