The seasons really do influence our mental wellness, and if you’ve ever experienced seasonal affective disorder (or ‘the SADs’), you know that they’re just no fun. In what can only be described as ‘the winter of COVID’, the SADs are ever more present, and finding new ways to keep this disorder at bay is near impossible.
Fortunately, there is one thing you can do for yourself, and that’s practice yoga. Here are a few ways you can conquer your SADs and get through the next few months with a smile on your face.
1. Stock up on vitamin D
Vitamin D is known as ‘the sunshine vitamin’. When your skin is exposed to sunlight, it makes vitamin D from cholesterol, which helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body. These nutrients are needed to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy. In short, this vitamin is needed to make us feel good in our bodies, every day.
Through winter, finding vitamin D is increasingly more difficult. To counter this loss, purchase a vitamin D supplement or eat foods that can help support the production of this vitamin, including oily fish, eggs, and fortified foods.
For an extensive list of how to increase vitamin D, read this Healthline article.
2. Watch your diet
It’s all too easy to submit to junk food through winter. After all, you don’t require a beach body, and things begin to get a little too cosy.
But comfort food is oftentimes unhealthy, and unhealthy foods weigh us down. As challenging as it may seem, it’s critical to maintain a healthy diet for both physical and mental health. There’s nothing wrong with indulging in comfort foods, but those items don’t have to be packed with sugar or unhealthy fats. Pass on the cake and cookies, and consider a vegetable-packed salad or a hot bowl of soup instead
3. Introduce a daily yoga routine
There’s nothing like a little daily exercise to keep the SADs at bay, and with everyone working from home these days, it’s even easier to come to the mat in one shape or another. Perhaps it’s a quick Vinyasa flow at lunchtime, or perhaps you indulge in an Iyengar practice in the evening.
Whatever you choose, it’s important to move your body as frequently as possible every day and switch off the laptop screen, and yoga is the ideal way to do both.
4. Finally, speak to someone
Friends, family members, or even a professional. Talking to people is part of the human condition, and regardless of never-ending lockdowns, it’s important to maintain social connection as much as possible.
Opening up to those you trust will help you rationalise problems and feel connected to the world outside your door. Don’t neglect this important step – your friends need you as much as you need them.
Accept the SADs for what they are
Seasonal affective disorder may be something that you have to manage and maintain for the rest of your days. We’re sorry to say, but much like the cold, this disorder is a commonly recurring feature that livens as winter begins to set in.
With this said, then, it’s important to accept these uncomfortable and low feelings for what they are and remember that, no matter what, you’re not alone in feeling them. Routine is key, present-mindedness is key, and more than anything, daily movement and a healthy diet is key.