By Jennifer Woodruff,
Practicing mindfulness is a full time job! However, this lifestyle is even more important during transitions into colder seasons. Everyone starts to notice when the sun starts setting earlier and earlier each day. With less time to enjoy the outdoors due to frigid temperatures and loss of daytime hours, it can be difficult to find the good in everyday life.
Whether you’re suffering from the winter blues or something more severe like Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), there may be more to consider than originally thought. In fact, even those who are not genetically predisposed to depression are at risk of developing negative psychological states during winter.
There are several conditions that may increase the possibility of experiencing major downturns during wintertime. Women and those with a vulnerability to bleak states due to genetics are much more likely to be affected. In a recent study, 4 out of 5 people affected by SAD were women with a genetic susceptibility to depression.
So, what can be done to prevent harmful effects of seasonal despair? It’s never too early to start healthy habits. Take a look at the following tips for fostering mindfulness when transitioning seasons and put them to the test!
1. Get A Good Night’s Sleep
Sleeping is such an important part of your mindset. Many attribute their sleep quality to the caliber of their day.
Start the day out right by waking up from a restful slumber. There are several ways you can go about achieving a good night’s sleep. A vital component of these strategies is ensuring your sleeping situation is right for you. Choose a mattress with ample support that fits your unique sleep style. From firm to semi-firm and even soft, there are plenty of options to consider that will foster a successful snooze.
Once you have a good base, think about your other sleep preferences. If you prefer some background noise, try using a fan at night or test out some white noise machines. If you tend to overheat while sleeping, use moisture-wicking sheets or a light comforter rather than layering on the blankets. Take note of any reasons you may be waking up in a sleep journal to better track your patterns and note which cures may be right for you.
2. Boost Your Serotonin Levels
A common treatment for SAD is to boost your serotonin levels. Avoid serotonin being removed from the brain through an increase in sunlight intake. Take advantage of the nice weather by going for a walk or jog on sunny days.
If you’re less inclined to get moving or snow is preventing you from heading out, you could even take a seat on your front porch with a hot cup of coffee or cocoa and a blanket to prevent the exposure to cold while still spending time outdoors. Simply soaking up the sunshine is a great way to take in positive vibes.
Other natural remedies for increasing serotonin levels include the food you eat, organic supplements, massage therapy and mood induction. Whatever your method, you can’t go wrong by adding some serotonin!
3. Do Something Special Once a Month
Planning something special once a month gives you something to look forward to while still sticking to simple living. Rather than making large purchases and giving into retail therapy as a way to cope with seasonal changes, try setting up a date to go to dinner or even receiving a fun monthly subscription box that can help ease stress like a skincare or trial makeup offering. As you countdown the weeks to your special occasion, the months are sure to fly by.
While it’s definitely more difficult to get moving in colder weather, your body will thank you. Endorphins are an important and relatively easy way to maintain positivity and happiness in everyday life. As you participate in physical activity, you experience several psychological benefits such as improved self esteem, stress reduction, better sleep and less anxiety or feelings of depression.
Not to mention all of the helpful physical advantages as well. Regular exercise is shown to strengthen your heart, increase energy levels, lower blood pressure, improve muscle tone, strengthen bones and reduce overall body fat. Exercise is also a fairly underused method for treating depressive symptoms. So, the next time the sun is shining, take advantage of all the positive rewards you can get from a simple stroll!
5. Take Up a New Hobby
Learning something new can be the perfect way to keep your mind stimulated during downtime. The hobby can be as intricate as learning to play a new instrument or as simple as perfecting a meal. No matter your preference, expanding your knowledge base is sure to keep you on your toes all season long!
6. Journal Your Gratitude
Living a grateful life is an effective and painless way to have a more positive lifestyle. By keeping a gratitude journal, you are able to make a note of all of the amazing things happening each day. Many people attribute this practice to having a substantial effect on their overall happiness level and even say that it changes their outlook on life.
There are several elements that you are able to control in terms of length, detail and clarity. Then, all you need is your mind, a notebook and pen and you’re on your way to setting healthier intentions for a more fulfilled life!