The hype leading up to the holidays with Christmas music in every store and good cheer floating around the workplace. The festivities themselves, full of laughter, gift-giving, and good food. Then all the planning of a rocking New Year’s Eve party, with dancing, champagne, and little to no sleep.
But now what?
Though you might breathe a sigh of relief once January arrives as you’ll finally have time to relax, it can also be a time of sadness as the winter blues start to seep in. The stark difference between the over-saturation of activity in December to the calm of January can be a shock, leaving you feeling bored and lonely.
The winter blues can get to many people, with many factors involved. The cold is a big one. The frigid temperatures keep people from going outside, which means people are cooped up in their houses for as many as five or six months.
Couple this with the fact that the days are shorter and you have a recipe to ensure you never leave the house unless you absolutely have to.
This refusal to be outdoors is actually what causes the winter blues. Seasonal depression is a real thing that affects many people, but there are some ways to combat this, and being outdoors is one of them.
If you are outdoors you may be a little cold, but you are also breathing in clean crisp air, which is a health benefit for many reasons. The air you are breathing in your home isn’t necessarily bad for you, but that air becomes stale.
The increase in carbon dioxide in the air in your home can actually swing you into a more downtrodden and relaxed state, which many people tie in with seasonal depression.
By being outside you are essentially jump starting your lungs with a breath of fresh air which can lighten your mood and increase your productivity. There is also the added bonus of being tired at the right time and sleeping in a more peaceful state as a result of the fresh air.
The other benefit to being outdoors is the additional vitamin D that you will receive! The sun, when it is out, can provide a plethora of health benefits. One of those benefits is that it increases your mood, which can bring you out of that slump that you may be in.
The lights inside are not helpful at all, as halogens and fluorescent lights can actually increase the depression by mimicking the lighting in many institutions such as offices, schools, and hospitals.
There are lamps specifically designed to mimic the affects of sunlight. These are particularly helpful for people who live northern regions of the world that get little to no sunlight during the winter, as well as those who suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
We all know there are other factors to seasonal depression, such as family, stress and money, but a factor you may not have considered is that you simply need to get outside more.
Don’t let the cold weather get the best of you and find an activity outside that will get you some fresh air. Even walking can be a great stress reliever, get fresh air into your lungs, and get sunlight on your skin.