Transcending SAD: Winter Wellness Through Togetherness
Thank you to freelance contributor Kimberly Hayes
You’ve probably heard of winter blues. You may have experienced it yourself, but did you know that it could be a mental health condition called seasonal affective disorder (SAD)? Diminishing sunlight and the darkening of night could be the catalyst for this emotional disorder, also known as SAD. Shorter days and colder weather are tied to your emotional well-being, so feelings of sadness and depression tend to hit harder for some people in the winter.
If you’re experiencing SAD, then know that you’re not alone. If you don’t suffer from SAD, then there’s likely a fellow human who does and could use support and love during this season. We are all interconnected. When the individual’s wellness suffers, the community’s wellness suffers. Below are some ways to tackle SAD to get through the winter months with happiness, elevated moods, and harmony.
Move Your Body
Being active is the fastest way to warm up your body and positively alter your mood in a natural way. The idea of shedding your winter layers to work out might seem dreadful, but being active with friends could have you singing a different tune. Share these moments together to empower and lift each other up with motivation to keep going — physically and mentally. Walking, running, or yoga are great ways to use movement to relieve stress and anxiety, while also triggering endorphins in the body that will help you feel better emotionally.
Heal Your Mind
Studies show inflammation in your brain has an effect on your mental health. The result could be depression and anxiety, but you can prevent this from happening by reducing inflammation through diet and supplements. For examples, CBD oil has been linked to the reduction of inflammation, and it works by delivering the healing properties of cannabis without the mood-enhancing effects. This CBD oil guide will provide a list of the top oils this year so that you can make an informed decision, but it’s best to get your doctor’s opinion before you begin a new treatment.
As the seasons change, so do our daylight hours. And while the days become shorter, it doesn’t mean we have to spend our days indoor and sequestered. Getting outside and soaking up some fresh air and vitamin D can go a long way toward boosting your mood. One way to get outdoors is to engage your community and encourage events that bring people together. Whether it’s for a food drive or blanket drive, getting people involved is central to any community event.
For those suffering from SAD, interpersonal connection is just as important as being outdoors under the sun. Giving people purpose to get outside, get involved, and engage with each other can boost everyone’s spirits by fostering a sense of trust and love in the company of others. Everyone benefits when you connect as a community.
Whether you’re inside or outside, keep yourself warm by layering clothes and turning up the heat. Proper winter attire and central heating can make a big difference in your comfort when the weather is numbingly cold. If you have a fireplace at home, a crackling fire and a hot cup of herbal tea might be just the medicine you need to cheer up those winter blues. Reach out to others who may be feeling lonely and invite them into your home to gather for a family feast by the fire.
Finding a hobby or activity that relaxes the mind will do wonders for anxiety or isolation. An art therapy group can create social outreach through poetry, painting, or performance. Set up a weekly gathering where people come together to work on various art projects for therapeutic and social benefits. With regular gatherings, you can ensure that those in your community affected by SAD get the companionship that they need.
The opposite of sadness is happiness, and the opposite of isolation is community. When you find a tribe of people whose principles are aligned with yours, you’ve found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. There is no “down” when you surround yourself with beloved people who want to lift each other up. In doing so, you won’t only be restoring hope in your life, but you’ll also restore hope in the beautiful souls that cross your path.
Photo Credit: Pexels