As much as 20 percent of the U.S. population suffers from some form of seasonal depression when the winter season rolls around. This is especially common in northern regions, like New York, that are faced with harsh and relentless winters. Women and older adults are most likely to develop seasonal affective disorder (SAD), but people of all ages and in all places can feel symptoms of the winter blues.
Here are a few key ways to prevent seasonal depression with winter wellness strategies like light therapy, outdoor exercise, and aromatherapy techniques.
Incorporate Light Therapy into Daily Life
Light therapy is the most commonly recommended treatment for seasonal depression in the U.S. because this region sees less mood-boosting sunlight during the winter months. With just 30 minutes a day, you can get a specially made light cap or visor to wear on your head to give you a safe dose of daily light.
Dawn simulators can be used to mimic the natural sunrise and help your body wake up naturally without an alarm. Desk lamps and floor lamps can also be purchased for the home to provide light therapy treatment.
Embrace Outdoor Winter Activities
Just because the temperatures have dropped and the snow has begun to fall doesn’t mean that outdoor exercise is off-limits. A great way to beat winter depression and stay active all season is to embrace winter sports and find a new passion in the outdoors.
Skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, cross-country skiing, winter trail running, and sledding are all great winter options in the Northeast. No matter what type of activity you choose, exercise is a wonderful way to fight depression because it releases endorphins and serotonin to control overall feelings of wellbeing.
Eat Your Way to Wellness
Many people crave carb-heavy comfort foods in the winter, but these food choices can actually make the symptoms of seasonal depression worse.
Instead of mac & cheese and tempting sweets, eat vitamin D-rich foods like tuna, eggs, and fortified milk. When you don’t get enough vitamin D from the sun, you need to make up for it in your diet. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon, nuts, and seeds, are also healthy mood-boosting foods.
Try Soothing Aromatherapy Techniques
Essential aromatherapy oils have calming properties and many contain anti-inflammatory ingredients that can be helpful in reducing stress, relieving muscle tension, fighting anxiety, and aiding restful sleep. Aromatherapy techniques can be incorporated with massage to enhance the effectiveness of these benefits.
At a specialized aromatherapy spa like Aura Wellness Spa, you can reinvigorate your senses and begin to approach life with a renewed sense of calmness and gratitude. By using essential oils and aromatic plant compounds known to boost wellness and mood, aromatherapy treatment dates back to ancient times of healing and is used in spas all around the world today.
Talk to Someone You Trust
When feelings of winter depression become overwhelming or start to control your daily life, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone.
Talk to a trusted friend or family member about how you’re feeling and which coping strategies are working for you. If symptoms persist, seek the professional guidance of a counselor or therapist to learn about the root causes of your depression and explore other possible treatment options. With a healthy lifestyle and caring people in your life, you can begin to embrace the beauty of winter and look forward to the spring season ahead.