The slow but seemingly sudden change in weather from cool and crisp to cold and miserable can affect our health in many ways. In fact, winter is known to affect mental, physical, and emotional health.
You’ll probably have less motivation and productivity, feel more lethargic, and may even suffer from a mental health illness known as SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).
Hopefully, we can give you some tips to manage these mental and physical changes so that you can get used to winter-and maybe even enjoy it.
SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)
SAD affects many people, especially in areas that get really cold and harsh winters. Not only does the cold affect sufferers, but the increased darkness and less sunlight-vitamin D is extremely important! It can affect you both physically and mentally. Symptoms include:
- A loss of interest in things you usually enjoy
- Weight gain or loss
- A general withdrawal from social interaction.
- These symptoms are very much the same as depression, but thankfully seem to disappear once warmer weather comes back.
Physically speaking, many people find that they gain weight during winter due to an increased appetite and a lack of motivation to exercise.
This will only make you feel more miserable and while taking comfort in food may seem like a good idea at the time, you’ll be miserable when summer comes and you no longer fit into your pre-winter clothes.
Staying active is vital for your physical and mental health. Exercise releases feel-good chemicals in your brain and will keep you feeling confident, healthy and in shape.
As tempted as you may be to stay snuggled in laters of blankets indulging in cakes, chocolate and sweets, you’ll only regret it in the long run. We have come a long way from our ancestors who had to store as much food as possible during winter and a healthy diet will keep you energized, lift your mood, and save your waistline.
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, nuts, healthy soups, lots of water, and if you’re really craving something sweet, go for dark chocolate – it is far lower in sugar and is high in anti-oxidants.
Get a good night’s sleep
Make sure you keep your sleep schedule in check, make your bedroom a sanctuary with plenty of warm blankets and comfy pillows. Try not to nap during the day, as this will interfere with your ability to sleep at night.
Try to get at least 8 hours of sleep every night and remember to turn off all gadgets-phones, tablets, computers, and TVs at least an hour before you go to sleep.
Boost your immune system
It’s very common for our immune systems to become compromised during the cold season. The last thing you want is to get taken down by a nasty bug!
If you follow all of the above tips, you’re already at a lower risk for getting sick, but there are other things you can do to ensure your immune system stays tough as nails.
Remember to keep warm and dress appropriately, wash your hands regularly, and take a multivitamin for extra protection against germs.
As much as you want to stay at home and not go out into the cold and miserable weather, there is nothing better than keeping connected with friends and family. As hard as it may seem, getting warmly dressed and venturing out for a coffee with a good friend will do wonders for your mood. Isolating yourself can become very depressing so make sure you don’t neglect your social life.
Try out new hobbies
Just because you’re going to be inside more than out doesn’t mean there isn’t a ton of new things you can try to keep your mind busy and stimulated. Why not try your hand at baking, reading more, painting or knitting. A busy mind is a happy mind and you may find that you have talents you never dreamed of.