Tips to Cope with Spending More Time Indoors
The cold weather tends to keep us indoors and away from nature, sometimes leading to the winter blues, also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder. Our top tips to help keep your spirits up during the cold and dark months of winter.
Easier said than done, especially when it’s cold out, but even a short 5 minute walk can do wonders to help reconnect with nature and lift the spirits. If possible, make it part of a morning routine when you can intentionally focus your thoughts on enjoying your brief time outdoors.
Bring the Outside In
There are several ways to do this. During the Holiday season, live evergreens can be brought indoors to fill your home with the sweet smell of woodsy nature. Another option is to get houseplants. There have been several studies that show people with houseplants tend to be happier. Houseplants offer their own benefits; in addition to lifting spirits and providing a source of green in an otherwise stark time of year, they also help to provide cleaner more oxygenated air within the home.
Make it Bright
The primary source of winter blues is believed to be the lack of natural sunlight during the winter months when the days are short and often overcast. Keep your curtains open and arrange your work space and living areas to help maximize your sunlight exposure.
Try Light Therapy
If you still find you’re longing for the sunlight, but can’t get enough, you can try light therapy. Light therapy boxes are available to specifically address this need. Light boxes are not regulated so before investing in a light box, you should do some research as to effectiveness and the type of light being emitted.
Try Vitamin D
Since sunlight is our primary source of vitamin D, our reserves can start to run low during the winter months. Many family doctors recommend taking vitamin D supplements over the winter to help compensate for the lack of sun. Before starting any supplements, it is always best to talk to your family physician or a healthcare professional.
It has been shown that physical activity immediately boosts the brain’s dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin levels all of which affect our mood, focus and attention. Regular exercise takes it a step further and stabilizes our mood for longer durations.
Get Enough Sleep
Good sleep habits play another important role in boosting our mood. Quality sleep helps to reduce anxiety and lower our stress response, both needed for stabilizing our mental health.
Connect with Others
Last, while the winter months make it difficult to connect with nature as often as we might like, we can still connect with others. Even in difficult times, the ability to talk to a comforting friend can make all the difference when we’re feeling extra low.