How many times have you been fast asleep in a dark room when the alarm goes off well before you are ready to get out of bed? You may feel warm and cozy under the sheets, but you can hear the cold wind blowing outside. You have no motivation to get out of bed, and you may be thinking about calling in sick. However, you just called in sick a few days ago, and you do not want to lose your job. Somehow, you manage to get yourself up and ready for work. You make the long journey into the office through unsafe winter weather driving conditions. Throughout the day, you may still not be able to kick that unmotivated feeling, and your concentration affects your productivity throughout the workday.
It can seem like you are alone in this experience, but the winter blues are actually very common. Many people are affected by seasonal affective disorder. The good news is that there are a few things that you can do to overcome your challenges throughout the winter months.
What Makes You Feel Blue?
You may be inclined to simply brush off your case of the winter blues by blaming it on the cold, dreary weather outside. However, you do not have to feel unmotivated and even depressed all winter long. Instead, you can take steps to educate yourself about seasonal affective disorder and learn how to beat the blues.
Seasonal affective disorder usually begins and ends around the same time each winter season, so you may not be any stranger to feeling low this time of year. You may find that you are unmotivated and have trouble focusing. You may be lethargic, even depressed. In severe cases, this lack of motivation can make you lose your job, or clients if you work independently.
As you can see, this issue could have significant effects on your life, and you need to address the problem head-on.
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Beating The Blues
A severe case of seasonal affective disorder often requires professional treatment and even therapy. However, if you have mild yet bothersome symptoms, there are a few steps that you can take to address the problem on your own.
Wake Up Bright And Breezy
Your mood at the beginning of each day can impact how you feel and think throughout your waking hours. It is important to get your day off on the right foot, and one of the best ways to do this is to let natural light pour into your room.
You may even open your blinds at night so that you can wake up to a room filled with sunlight. If this is not ideal, consider setting a timer to turn your bedside table lamp on an hour before you wake up. This can positively affect how you feel because it allows your eyes to get accustomed to light. Remember that eyes that have been immersed in a very dark room all night may be sensitive to light in the morning. This can make it harder for you to get out of bed each morning. In fact, some people even invest in a dawn simulator, which creates the ambiance of sunrise inside the room.
You can also use bright, happy tones to decorate your bedroom. You don’t have to repaint it, only add colorful decor, sleep on yellow pillows, put up pictures of bright scenery – anything that cheers you up.
Keep Your Spirits High
After you get out of bed, you need to keep your energy level up. This means that you should eat a protein-rich and fiber-rich breakfast. Avoid sugary foods that can give you a sudden drop in energy a few short hours later. In addition, sugar has been linked to stress, anxiety, and depression. Fruit, such as berries, with a protein-rich cereal are great breakfast foods that can potentially improve your energy level and mood.
Another step that you can take to get your mood up is to walk to work, if feasible. While you may not want to walk if you work many miles away, getting your blood pumping with a brisk walk is a great idea for short distances. You could even jog to work if you have the possibility to shower and change at the office.
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Let Your Office Cheer You Up
If your office space is dull and dismal, spend time dressing up your space. This may include adding a few potted plants or using cheery colors in appropriate ways. You can add pictures of loved ones to your desk.
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Again, open up the blinds to let light in. If your workspace is not close to windows, consider bringing a seasonal affective disorder lamp into the office to simulate natural sunlight. Even simply turning on the light can make you feel more awake and concentrated. You can also take breaks periodically throughout the workday. Get up to stretch your legs, and consider venturing outside for a short walk in the sunshine before heading back to your desk.
Kick Your Stress to the Curb
When you are away from work, take steps to decrease your stress level and increase your enjoyment level. When you get home from work, find healthy, constructive ways to relax. For example, you can practice yoga, mindfulness or deep breathing techniques. These efforts can actually change the way your brain works, providing you with substantial health benefits. You can even create an entire room in your home that has a spa-like environment and that is ideal for meditation and yoga.
There are other ideas to consider as well. For example, you can plan a vacation to a warm climate. Merely having something to look forward to can improve your mood. In addition, sunlight and warm weather in your vacation destination can improve your mood dramatically. Another idea is to find a hobby that you can stay active with throughout winter, such as baking, ice skating, knitting or something else.
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Add Color To Your World
As common as the winter blues are, you do not have to accept this as the status quo for the next few months. Improve your mood and your outlook on life throughout the season by following these simple steps. Remember, you need to take good care of yourself even when everything looks grey. You have an entire color palette at your disposal, don’t make blue your first choice every winter.