Do you find that your mood isn’t as good in the colder months? Does your mental health decline when the sun isn’t out and the weather isn’t so nice outside? You’re not alone if you experience feelings like this. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a common phenomenon that can occur during seasonal changes. Whether you suffer from SAD or not, it’s important to prioritise your mental health in any case.
When winter rolls around and the sun isn’t shining, you can learn how to ‘bring the weather with you’. However, if you’re feeling down and can’t seem to pick yourself back up, there is no harm in seeking help. In fact, it’s the hardest yet bravest thing you could do. Call Lifeline at 13 11 14 to speak to someone that understands and can help you during this time.
Here are some symptoms you may be experiencing:
- Feeling sad or depressed
- Loss of interest in activities you previously loved
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
If you’re looking for some proactive ways to help you feel energised, happy and healthy during the colder months, we’ve got you covered.
5. Be Mindful of What You’re Eating
As many people like to say, food is medicine. What you put into your body is what powers and fuels your mind, your central nervous system and every fibre of your being. It’s what keeps the cogs turning and functioning properly. If you fuel it with the wrong things, the cogs can get stuck.
We’re not saying you have to say no to that chocolate fudge brownie you’ve been looking forward to all day, in fact, you should go eat that now. We’re just saying that you should be conscious of what food you’re putting into your body on a daily basis. Studies have shown that there are certain foods that can actually help improve your mental state, some of them being:
- Dark Chocolate
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Folic Acid (leafy greens, oatmeal, lentils, soybeans)
We understand that when you’re feeling low, food probably isn’t your top priority. Convenience will outweigh a healthy meal. This is why you should try make the healthy options the convenient ones too. If it's already there in front of you, you are far more likely to gravitate to the easier option. Try remove sugary sweets and put a protein bar, some fruit or some yoghurt at the front of your fridge. You can trick your brain into thinking this is the best and easiest option. This season, try your best to be mindful of the things you are fuelling your body with.
4. Make an effort to be social
This is a tip that you might not want to hear, but you have to. It’s so easy to stay stuck inside, isolated from anyone and everyone. When you lack motivation, the idea of reaching out to friends or family can seem meaningless. But when you do, you’ll realise how much of a mood booster it can be. Instead of reaching out with the intention of small talk, try have a genuine interest and curiosity as to how the other person is doing.
You’ll be surprised how nice it feels to be both the listener and the speaker. When the weather is gloomy, grab your friend and head to a café or organise a video call when you’re both in your PJ’s. A bit of conversation can go a long way.
When we say exercise, we don’t mean you have to put on your running shoes and head out for a hike. Getting your body up and moving in any way, is greatly beneficial. Going for a walk, following a yoga tutorial on YouTube or putting on some of your favourite music and dancing around your room. Any kind of movement that gets your heart pumping will set off a chemical reaction in your brain. Endorphins (AKA the feel-good hormone) is released, giving you a post-workout high.
Forming habits is difficult, especially when you’re not feeling at your best. Make things easier for yourself by following these 3 steps:
- If it takes less than 60 seconds, do it now. This could be putting your workout clothes and shoes beside your bed.
- Be proactive by making things easier for future you! If you use those 60 seconds to set out your workout clothes and shoes, the following day when you’re not feeling so good, you won’t have any excuses as to why you shouldn’t get yourself moving.
- Reward yourself! The habit of exercise will only become a habit if you enjoy it. So, make sure you reward yourself in some way. It’s up to you what you choose as your reward (make it good!)
If you are feeling low, put on your favourite song and see if you can fight the urge to get up and dance. Once you’re up and moving, enjoy the moment and be present! Your body, your mind and your soul will thank you for it.
2. Practice Mindfulness
You’ve probably heard this phrase before, and it may sound somewhat cliché. But it might be the most important thing on this list. Being mindful is as simple as noticing your breath, taking in your surroundings and fully accepting the present moment. If you don’t like the present moment you’re in, ask yourself this: Can I remove myself from the situation? If not, can I do something that will make the situation more enjoyable? If the answer is yes, make the change. If the answer is no, the only option you have is to fully accept the moment.
You might be lying on the lounge, dwelling in your lack of motivation. Can you do something that will make this moment more enjoyable? If the answer is yes, do something. If not, fully accept that you’re not going to do anything and be happy with that decision.
1. Seek Help.
If you feel as though you’ve given everything a shot or you don’t feel like you have the strength to try anything on this list, don’t hesitate to reach out to a friend, family member or a health care professional. We’re all human and sometimes we need a helping hand to get us through the storm. With some extra help, you might find that you’ll come to appreciate the sound of rain or the stillness and calm that’s left after a thunderstorm. Either way, stay healthy this season by prioritising your mental health now. Being proactive is the best treatment.
Where to find help: