Categories: Health & Wellness | Published On: January 21, 2022 |

5 Tips to Reduce Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

2 minute read
5 Tips to Reduce Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

The high from the holidays can be tough to come down from. Shopping, the exchanging of gifts, decorating your home, cooking, and hosting family all come with a rush unique to that time of year. But when all the excitement is over and it’s time to return to your daily living, those first two months of a new year can feel daunting. Especially in Canada, where you’re entering the coldest time of year with the shortest amount of daylight.

While all that may be true, we’re not letting you give in. Cold temperatures and short days do not need to equal anxiety. You have all the energy you need to make the start of the year feel hopeful, and we’re going to tell you how. 

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?

You may have heard of the Monday Blues. It’s the now defunct theory that the third Monday of every January is the most depressing day of the year. Scientists have proven this false, but the concept that your mental health is impacted during a specific time of year does have merit. 

The recognized term for this is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). It’s a condition where the affected person’s mental health suffers with the change of the seasons. Most commonly, those with SAD start to feel the negative effects in the fall and into the winter, with moodiness, increased irritability and loss of energy as the primary symptoms. It’s easy to ignore some of these symptoms as “winter blues,” but if you feel like your mental health has taken a downward turn lately, it’s important you take steps to get back to a positive space.

How to lift your mood during winter 

We know that SAD is a real thing, but like we said at the beginning of this article, we’re not letting you give in to it. We’re going to help you kick the winter blues in the butt and start the year feeling excited and energized. How, you ask? Let’s get to it. 

1. Spend time outdoors 

Yes, it’s cold. But this is Canada, so you already know that. One of the triggers of SAD is not getting enough sunlight and vitamin D. Both problems can be solved by spending more time outdoors. Technically, you don’t even need to be doing anything while you’re outside. Taking a walk is advised as it keeps you active, but the goal is to find reasons to get outside at least once every day. 

Read more about how to find a hobby in the winter.

2. Get active 

We briefly mentioned walking, but physical activity plays a vital role in maintaining your mental health. Studies have shown a direct link between increased physical activity and a decrease in anxiety and depression. Now is a great time to sign up for one of Boomerang’s online mindfulness classes, which include a variety of yoga, tai chi, and stretching classes. 

Read more about our online wellness workshops.

3. Find your routine 

Routines give you something to look forward to and guide your wellness journey. During days that feel dull and drag on, knowing you’ll cook a meal with a virtual group at dinnertime can insert some much needed anticipation. One important routine that needs to be specifically addressed is sleep. A recent study shows a causal connection between lack of sleep and devolving mental health. One way to make sure you sleep soundly is to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. 

Read more tips on how to fall asleep.

A woman in her 50s practices meditation in an online class

4. Find support and stay social 

When we say stay social, we don’t necessarily mean putting yourself in groups of strangers. Feeling alone can negatively affect your mental health, so staying social can mean scheduling regular phone calls with family and friends, going for outdoor walks with neighbours, or attending virtual workshops or events where you actively participate. The point is to not take on these emotions alone. Stay connected to those around you and reach out when you need to. 

Read more about the importance of staying social as you age.

5. Focus on yourself 

As beautiful as the holidays can be, they’re a time where you focus a lot of your attention on others. Now that you’re getting back to more regular day-to-day living, take this time to focus on yourself. We spoke about setting wellness goals for this year––that’s a great start. It’s also not a bad time to start saying no to some things that involve you spending your energy on others. Instead, say “yes” to one of Boomerang’s online book clubs and discussion groups. And, if you need time and space to recharge on your own, be unapologetic about it. 

Read more about 7 books to add to your reading list this winter.

Use Boomerang to kick winter blues to the curb

We’re going to do our best to help you stay mentally healthy this winter. With body strength workshops, dancing, meditation, and all sorts of other incredible activities, Boomerang is where you need to be during the next few months. If you’re ready to kickstart your physical wellness journey, sign up for Boomerang today.

This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While the information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or its affiliates.

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