There is no denying it, our days are changing. Colder. Darker. Shorter.
The winter blues are, simply put, a change in mood associated with winter.
It makes total sense why we would experience it when we look at our evolution and how we have been socialized.
Your brain wants to keep you alive, this is where your instincts come from. During winter these instincts include eating more and staying indoors.
To your primitive brain, winter means food scarcity and likely death if you step outside the cave and are not able to find shelter.
If you find yourself skipping the gym, avoiding the social plans and binge-ing episodes of the Office on Netflix on your sofa, you are not alone.
Secondly, notice your conversation about winter. Complaining much? Conversation enters your subconscious brain, filling it with negativity. Add to this our traditions and expectations of family, friends, happiness, food, gifts, travel, etc. your to-do list just got a lot longer!
Lastly, the darkness is impacting your serotonin and melatonin levels, confusing your body clock, sleep routine and energy levels.
Now we know why the winter blues exist, let’s look at what we can do about it!
- STOP JUDGING YOURSELF. Self criticism is holding you back, fueling your anxiety and draining your energy. Before taking positive action, you HAVE to let go of judgement.
- STOP LISTENING TO YOUR BRAIN.Your brain wants to eat more and stay indoors. You do not have to listen. Making decisions ahead of time and committing to them even when your brain tells you not to is a game changer. For winter and forever.
- STOP COMPLAINING. It is tempting and easy, but be mindful that how you talk becomes a habit. The more you complain in one area of your life, the easier it is to complain in all areas.
- CREATE ROUTINE. The time you wake up, when or how you exercise, what you eat, etc. Often people are hesitant to change their routine for winter and end up doing NOTHING. If you cannot continue with your previous routine, create a new one. This can even be fun and an opportunity to try new things.
- BE SOCIAL. Your mental health is directly impacted by your social support. You can stay indoors with others OR you can enjoy seasonal things that are only available this time of year! It is never as bad once you get outside!
- FIND LIGHT. We know it is darker, plan for it! Whether it is going outside at lunch, or sitting by the window during the day, think about what you can do and implement it.
- GET OFFLINE.It is easy to sit at home swiping and scrolling, comparing your life to others’, feeling sorry for yourself, consumed in hours of media that is not serving you, and can feed your anxiety. What can you do without technology? Get creative! A new recipe? Art? Writing the book you have been thinking about for years?
Be kind to yourself. Be kind to your anxiety. It is only trying to keep you alive after all. You get to teach your anxiety that you don’t need those same survival instincts anymore. Winter can be a time for you to blossom into creativity, new routine and growth.
If you want to find out more about how you can manage your anxiety for all the seasons, be sure to check out my podcast by clicking here .