‘Tis the season for the winter blues – what a drag. With the clocks changing and the days getting shorter, the decrease in sunlight can put a serious damper on your mood and anxiety attacks. It’s called Seasonal Affective Disorder; a type of depression that’s related to the changes in seasons. While SAD isn’t a type of anxiety in the winter, it’s no secret that the worse you feel emotionally and mentally, the worse your anxiety tends to be and voila – you have the perfect connection for increased anxiety caused by seasonal affective disorder.
But it isn’t all bad news! With a bit of information about increased anxiety in the winter, you can easily keep it under control.
7 Powerful Ways to Keep Your Anxiety in the Winter At Bay
Of course, the best solution for worsening panic attacks in the winter is to get an Anxiety Gone winter subscription box! The January box is coming soon. So, make sure to sign up for the mental health subscription box before it’s gone.
Cause: Lack of Light
Although the exact causes of anxiety in the winter haven’t been solidified, many researchers and medical physicians believe it to be caused by the lack of light. During the fall and winter seasons, the sun doesn’t shine near as much as it does during other seasons and you definitely don’t spend as much time outside. As a result, you have lower vitamin D and serotonin levels, which can cause your anxiety to go out of whack.
Light therapy is one of my personal favourites, as you can get more light in your life right in the comfort of your home. My latest obsession is a portable light therapy headset which allows you to get a boost of photosynthesis wherever you are. The initial purchase is a little pricy but it’s worth it. I have mine on me at all times and use it whenever I need some extra oomph to get me through the day.
Now, if the portable light therapy headset is too expensive for you, there are various light therapy lamps you can use. The only downside is that you have to be where the light is in order to reap the benefits, whereas the portable SAD light headset goes with you.
Solution: Vitamin D Supplements
Taking vitamins to make up for the lack of sunlight is another safe and healthy way to treat yourself to some light. Since the sun provides sufficient amounts of Vitamin D, the lack of sunlight experienced during the winter months can cause many people to experience a Vitamin D deficiency. Even if you don’t experience a deficiency per se, you will likely feel the effects of not having as much Vitamin D in your body. So, consider adding some vitamin D supplements into your health regime come fall and continue taking the supplements until spring.
Cause: Lack of Outdoor Activity
What’s the first thing people do when the snow starts to fall? Hibernate! The winter season simply isn’t for everyone, especially when you have worse anxiety in the winter. It makes sense to want to hide inside under big comfy blankets until the season passes. However, doing so can actually make the problem worse.
When you stay inside during the winter months, you’re not receiving the sunlight or the fresh air you need to feel great. As a result, you experience worsening moods, depression and anxiety in the winter.
Solution: Find Fun Winter Activities
The winter can be fun… If you allow it to be – and that’s coming from the girl who sun chased for 4 years straight and who has also been diagnosed with a cold allergy (yes, it exists!).
I know what you’re thinking, what could possibly be fun about being cold, wet and uncomfortable. Well, you’d be surprised! With the proper winter gear, there are plenty of fun things to do in the winter, all of which can bring more happiness and excitement into your life than you ever thought was possible.
So, find a reason to enjoy the season and you won’t have as bad of anxiety in the winter. Otherwise, you’ll just sit inside, anxious and miserable, and time will go by so slowly. At least this way, winter will be over before you know it.
Some of my favourite activities that help my anxiety in the winter include:
- Build snow forts with the kids
- Learning how to snowboard
- Ice skating
- Winter camping
- Christmas festivals
- Winter walks to see the lights
Solution: Bring the Outdoors Indoors
To some, plants are just green living things but to others, they can be an excellent source of natural anxiety relief. Add some plants for anxiety in your workspace and living areas. Due to good ole’ science, plants will clean the stale air of bad toxins and energy, which instantly enhances your mood and decreases anxiety in the winter.
Just think about it – you probably go the full fall and winter season without opening your windows. That’s a whole lot of stale air messing up your mojo and plants can clear it out.
The winter season isn’t enjoyable for everyone. In fact, many people have valid reasons to be full-blown Scrooges and Grinches during the holiday season. It can be depressing and lonely, and although nothing has really changed other than the weather, you’re spending more time inside and more time alone which simply makes you feel lonelier. As a result, anxiety in the winter increases.
Solution: Weighted Blankets Increase Serotonin
Weighted blankets for anxiety have been growing in popularity over the past couple of months, and for all the right reasons. These blankets are designed to weigh approximately 10% of a person’s body weight, so it can feel like a big giant hug or spooning session with a loved one.
It’s also been proven that when the gentle pressure is applied to your body, it helps increase serotonin levels. As a result, a weighted blanket can alleviate anxiety in winter, or rather, whenever you’re under the coziness of this blanket.
Cause: Lack of Warmth
I can’t say this is a proven cause for increased anxiety in the winter but I can say that the colder I am, the worse I feel. When I feel rough, I feel anxious and then, I get in a funk. So, I know others out there must experience an increase in anxiety during the season simply due to the temperatures outdoors. Fortunately, this is an easy fix!
Solution: Heated Blankets and Wraps
Fixing this “cause” of anxiety in winter can be as simple as tossing a heated wrap into the microwave for three minutes or flicking the switch on your heated blanket. The warmth will radiate throughout your body, making you feel comfy and cozy, and of course, a decrease in anxiety follows.
Cause: Lack of Life
The more you hibernate, the more you start to feel like a hermit, loser, low-life… you get the point. Although you don’t want to be outside in the cold, staying inside isn’t doing anything for you either because often times, you aren’t doing anything productive. You’re simply binge watching Netflix and cozying up on a couch. There’s absolutely no problem with that unless it’s affecting your mental health.
Solution: Do Something Productive
It doesn’t matter what it is that you do, as long as you do something productive every single day after your normal routine, you’ll feel better. After work, workout or take a walk, go to a local cafe for a cup of anxiety tea or make a list of chores to complete. One extra task a day will help you be more productive which instantly makes you feel better.
Experiencing an increase in anxiety is never a good feeling; experiencing an increase in anxiety in winter when everything surrounding you is dark, dreary and freezing cold is definitely worse. So, take care of yourself with these seven powerful tips for combating the winter and seasonal affective disorder/seasonal anxiety disorder.