It’s December, and the first day of winter is right around the corner. Our daylight hours are getting less and less by the week, and many of us are feeling this change in the season more so than usual. With everything that has been going on in the world in the last year, it is important to notice how the outside world may be affecting your mental health.
My name is Brittney Morettini, I am a local Pilates instructor here in Humboldt County, and I wanted to share my tips & tricks to kick the winter blues! To begin with, regular exercise is a powerful way to fight seasonal depression, whether it’s going for a walk during the daylight hours that we have available to us, joining a group class at any of the fabulous local studios that Humboldt has to offer, or getting your sweat on from the comfort of your home. Exercise is proven to boost serotonin, endorphins and, more. Specifically, regular exercise is shown to combat seasonal affective disorder, which impacts many people.
For a large number of us, our daylight hours are taken by our day job. If that is the case, try your best to take a 30 minute walk during your lunch break! Even if you do not have the time for a full workout, getting a couple steps in during the daylight is a great way to boost those feel-good chemicals in your brain. In addition to exercise, I find it helpful to up my intake of B vitamins during the winter months. Research has shown that deficiencies of B Vitamins (namely B2, B6, B9, and B12) have been tied to depression.
Besides exercise and vitamins, some other tricks that I recommend for raising my spirits include keeping a routine of self care. Self care looks different for everyone. It could mean taking a bubble bath, developing a sleep schedule and establishing a routine, taking care of your gut, saying no to people, planning time for yourself, or meditating (my favorite meditation app is Waking Up, I love their daily meditations which are either 10 or 20 minutes long!).
Personally, when I am feeling overwhelmed, I recharge by taking a bubble bath and making sure that I am not over-booking myself. Many of us feel a constant pressure to be productive, myself included. Making sure that I have a planned part of my day just for me, to relax and let go, is very important for my mental health. Oftens we feel that we owe our time to our friends and family, to work and other obligations; it is essential to say “no” sometimes, and to say “yes” to taking care of yourself. Finally, and very importantly, if the Winter Blues hit you hard this year, remember that you are not alone – reach out to your loved ones, share your experiences. The more we are able to communicate with each other and and talk about when we are feeling down, the less stigma there will be attached to what have become very common feelings during these challenging times.