Are you truly over winter, like me? Cheer up. Spring is here! My step feels lighter and my mood brighter. I always seem to have more energy and creativity in springtime.
Do dark days often bring on dark moods and make you long for warm weather and sunshine? Do you get really fed up with the cold and damp? If so, then you may be experiencing some level of Seasonal Effective Disorder (SAD) a mood disorder related to seasonal variations of light.
As seasons change there is a shift in our biological internal clocks, partly due to the changes in patterns of sunlight. Symptoms begin in autumn, peak in the winter and usually decline with spring.
If you are particularly sensitive you may feel changes in mood during long stretches of cloudy weather. Alternatively, if you work long hours inside office buildings with few windows you can experience symptoms all year long.
While I love to visit there I am secretly pleased I don’t have to weather northern hemisphere winters where it is dark at 4pm or earlier. This makes the days seem short and the nights far too long.
What actually causes SAD? Some scientists believe that melatonin; a sleep related hormone that is also linked to depression is the culprit. Melatonin production increases during the longer nights of winter.
Other research suggests that the lack of serotonin, a brain chemical that seems to be triggered by sunlight is the reason for winter depression. People with depression have lower levels of serotonin in their brain.
So how can you hasten the wellbeing and channel the energy that comes with good weather? How can you boost the upside of the new season?
Get outside in daylight and absorb any sunshine. Spending some time outside each day can often make a huge difference. It is also good for keeping up your Vitamin D. Get out into your garden or simply relax in your back yard and drink in the sunlight.
Daily exercise really helps, especially when done outdoors. We know that physical exercise helps relieve stress and anxiety which can accentuate SAD. Being fitter generally makes you feel better about yourself. Also eating a balanced diet can help improve your mood.
Open blinds and curtains to increase the amount of light in your home and trim any tree branches that block sunlight. Lighten up your life by lightening up your living space. Bunches of flowers, bright cushions and re-arranging furniture for a new look can lift your spirits. Get rid of anything that is too old, doesn’t work or doesn’t fit.
Shift your mood from winter blues to spring time happiness. Spend as much time outside in the daylight as you can. Eat well, exercise regularly and learn how to manage your stress better. In the future, try and take holidays over the winter to warm sunny locations to avoid the winter blues.
Channel your energy into brightening and lightening up your life and your surroundings. Let springtime lift your spirits and gladden your heart. Thank the gods of winter for allowing us to be able to appreciate the onset of spring.
What about you? What do you do to turn the downside up?