As the days get shorter and the nights get longer in the winter, you might not get as much done as you did with a little more daylight. But winter can take a toll on more than just your productivity.
The combination of cold weather and shorter days limits outdoor activity and affects sleep patterns, which can exacerbate depression and anxiety. Knowing these triggers is just the start to fighting the winter blues. Here are five tips to combat seasonal depression:
Set a rhythm: Start out by doing something you enjoy each day for a week. By setting a rhythm, you’ll have a reason to get out from under that warm blanket and venture outside.
Schedule your sleep: Lack of sleep can make depression worse. If you schedule when you will wake up and go to sleep each night, you’re more likely to get enough shut eye — helping you fight depression and anxiety during the day.
Be social: Spending time with people who are supportive and kind can help you feel less isolated and stressed. If you’re feeling down, make a date to do something fun with a friend.
Cut out substances: Alcohol, tobacco, and drugs can trigger anxiety and depression. Ditching substances — or minimizing your use — is critical to surviving and enjoying the season.
Stay positive: Practice positivity. By thinking, writing, or talking about things that make you happy, you will feel more optimistic.
Because everyone is different, these tips might not be the be-all and end-all of feeling better. If you are struggling with depression, it is always a good idea to seek professional help.