Top 8 Sustainable Ways to Beat the Winter Blues
Updated: Jun 2, 2021
Winter means chilly air, frosty snow, and lots of blankets. However, it also means winter blues and a phenomenon called a seasonal affective disorder. About 5% of Americans experience this form of seasonal depression each year, and somewhere around 10-20% of Americans experience a milder form of it.
Areas of the world that receive fewer hours of daylight are more prone to seasonal affective disorder. This makes sense because the cause of winter blues is a lack of natural sunlight. Low light equals a drop in serotonin and an increase in melatonin production.
However, it is possible to fight off those winter blues, and you can even do it sustainably. I will tell you how!
Beat the Winter Blues- Sustainably
We truly appreciate the winter months at mylilEarth, but winter blues are a real struggle. SAD (seasonal affective disorder) can be treated with light therapy, but simple practices that target one’s overall well-being will help too.
Everything mentioned in this post is for information only. I’m not a psychotherapist or an expert on mental health. This post is solely for giving you some guidelines and tips. Always do your own research and seek professional help.
1. Go Out in Nature
Feeling cooped up in the house all day (and night) is sure to aggravate those winter blues. So, take a quick walk around your neighbourhood to get fresh air. Maybe even go for a hike or spend the whole day outdoors for some much-needed vitamin D.
Pack yourself a healthy lunch or snack to eat while enjoying the wintry beauty of your surrounding landscape. Instead of plastic cutlery, opt for a foldable spork and spoons travel and use your reusable containers.
2. Eat an Organic, Mood-Boosting Diet
A great sustainable way to beat the winter blues (SAD) is through your diet. Eating an organic, healthy, rich diet full of vitamins and essential amino acids will contribute to a happier you.
Foods like salmon, bananas, nuts, and eggs can help with mood-boosting and maintain energy levels. Also, your body will appreciate a well-balanced diet.
Did you know bananas act as a natural antidepressant? Every time you feel a little down, eat a banana. Bananas are great for tackling depression because they are high in tryptophan. Which is another source of protein that converts into mood-lifting serotonin.
3. Wear a Colourful Wardrobe (from the Thrift Shop)
We all need a little colour in our lives and the colours you wear can affect your mood. Colour is created based on certain frequencies of light, and our brain picks up on those frequencies. So, clothes that are colourful, bright, and “feel” uplifting just by looking at them are tied to happiness.
Needless to say, clothing with warm colours should be your go-to closet-grabs this winter season. For a sustainable edge, repurpose your old clothes or take a trip to your local thrift store.
4. Spoil Yourself Once in a While or Every Time
Eating the right food is one way of keeping your morale high. But, have you been treating yourself right this winter? Having some time to yourself isn’t self-fish many psychologists and health experts say self-care is necessary for your mind to distress and for your body to rejuvenate. Take this time to do things you enjoy, such as pampering yourself, go back to forgotten hobbies or simply self-reflect on your personal development.
5. Zen-out, Try Meditation
Whether you’re spiritual or not, as part of your self-care routine incorporate meditation, use this time to self-reflect or contemplate on your goals. Just like a balance-diet is fundamental for your body, mediation is vital for your mental health. John Davidson outlines the benefits of meditation in his book, Health Benefits of Meditation. It is well known by psychologists that mediation helps with anxieties, stress, and increased imagination and creativity.
6. Reach Out to Lost Contacts.
The pandemic has made it difficult to meet loved ones, especially when we feel a little down and just need that personal touch. However, before social media and other streams of communication people used to just make phone calls. It’s relatively easy, all you need to do is go through your contact list, it could be anyone mum, best friend or that one person you had a meaningful conversation with two years ago. I’m sure they will be delighted to hear from you, and most importantly you’ll feel less lonely.
7. Try Indoor Gardening
Plants are living, breathing creations of nature. Even if you feel like you don’t have a green thumb, try indoor gardening. Some plants are hard to kill (Pothos and snake plants are two), so start there.
If you find your brown thumb is turning green, try growing some of your favourite herbs, for example, Mint, Oregano, Chives and Dill require very little sunlight, these herbs are ideal for growing in small apartments with little natural light.
Having a plant in your home will infuse life into your space. Plants are also excellent for purifying the air and sending out clean oxygen in return.
8. Seek Professional Help
If you have tried the above and regular exercise but still find no relief from winter blues, perhaps it’s best to seek professional help.
Individuals suffering from SAD should consult a Psychotherapist or see if you can find therapy groups at your local health or community centres, usually these services are free and offer valuable information.
There is ample support available, I like the work Samaritans do, they offer emotional support to anyone in distress, 24/7. Another website I like to use for general tips for managing stress or information on mental health is Verywell mind. This website is easy to use, you can find any information from how to maintain motivational levels to tips on getting good quality sleep.
Winter Won’t Last Forever
Winter only lasts for a few short months, so remember to put yourself first and take some time out to self-reflect.
Everything I have mentioned can be done without destroying our Earth. Therefore, do what you can (sustainably) to lift your spirits until spring blossoms again.
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