10 Tips on How to Stay Positive During the Dark Autumn/Winter Days
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a mood disorder subset in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year exhibit depressive symptoms at the same time each year, most commonly in winter. Common symptoms include sleeping too much and having little to no energy, and overeating. The condition in the summer can include heightened anxiety.
Based on common recommendations and personal experiences we created the upcoming list to keep you going until the spring!
1. Surround yourself with light!
Buy some candles, fairy lights, and turn on the lights in your apartment. Prepare to pay a little bit more for your electricity bill but it’s worth it, since the light will keep you awake as well as cosy.
2. Get the seasonal affective disorder lamp/clock
It’s a really good investment and it’s easy to use. You simply set an alarm, and approximately 30 minutes before the hearing the actual sound of the alarm, the light starts slowly brightening up. This should create a sunrise-like feeling which helps you to actually open your eyes in the morning when everything is still pitch black. There are many brands that offer different additional functions such as radio. Petra has been using Philips Wake-Up Light, and it has been working perfectly.
3. Start taking vitamin D
If you haven’t done so, start taking vitamin D on daily basis. Research has shown that there is a link between depression and vitamin D deficiency and people with low levels of vitamin D are at greater risk of suffering with depression. In addition to that, it has been suggested by scientist to take vitamin D supplements to protect against SARS-CoV2 infection (2020/2021 coronavirus pandemic).
4. Try to get out of your home as much as possible
Yes it is cold, and yes it is dark, and you would rather watch Netflix than go out for a walk or to meet your friends. However, it is essential for you to go out and get some fresh air. Especially if you are currently working from home and have no reason (like walking to work) to leave the house.
5. Keep meeting people
This tip goes hand in hand with the previous one. Yes it might be gloomy, dark, rainy or snowy but meeting people during this time of the year will help you prevent the blue feeling that comes especially after the winter holiday in December. Of course, remember to keep social distance when meeting your friends and wear a mask!
6. Whenever you can see a sun, go outside and spend some time in the sunshine
If you’ve lived in Finland for a while, you know that sun might be gone for weeks so enjoy every second of the sunshine whenever it is possible.
7. Try a new hobby, get a plant or a pet
Learning is an important part of our lives and the outcome makes us feel happy and possibly even fulfilled. Try some new hobbies like knitting, sewing, or more active ones such as running or skiing. You can also get a plant or even a pet. Caring for something or somebody usually make us feel useful and happier.
8. Don’t be so harsh on yourself and take a break!
It’s okay if you don’t feel like doing some things right now. It might sound contradictory to the previous tip but a healthy balance is the key. Your body and mind also need a break, so find some good book, listen to your favourite songs or watch a new TV show without feeling guilty for once.
9. Get a break from social media
Try to be offline at least for a few hours during your day. We know it is hard and we are also still learning the balance between checking our social media until midnight and relaxing evening without looking at our phones. However, it is important to realised that turning off for a few hours might give us even more satisfaction than staying online. Go and spend some quality time with your families, friends, and loved ones.
10. Stay strong, it will end eventually!
It is long and draining but trust us, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. In case you still struggle and nothing mentioned is helping a bit, don’t be hesitant and look for a mental health support. In Finland you can contact Mieli (Mental Health Finland) by phone —> 09 2525 0111.
Good luck with your winter season and try to stay positive!
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Oginska H, Oginska-Bruchal K (May 2014). "Chronotype and personality factors of predisposition to seasonal affective disorder". Chronobiology International. 31 (4): 523–31. doi:10.3109/07420528.2013.874355. PMID 24397301. S2CID 22428871.