Shorter days. Longer nights. Miserable weather .. . There’s no getting around the fact that surviving winter can be HARD!!! I used to suffer from seasonally-affected low mood every year, like clockwork. It was so debilitating and made me dread this time of year. Over time I have built up a good toolkit to battle depression and other seasonally-affected illnesses. It wasn’t easy, and it took a lot of trial and error, but I think I’m at the point now where I can safely say that I am winning the war. So let’s end SAD (seasonal affective disorder) for good. Look after yourself this winter.
Something I say all of the time when teaching yoga, but only because this simple statement has had the most profound effect on me of all. Embrace the Danish concept of Hygge, of battening down the hatches and curling up on the sofa with a blanket and cup of good tea. Stop saying ‘yes’ to everything you feel like you should do, and instead learn to say NO to events/activities/etc that you really don’t want to do. I’m not saying go into full-blown hibernation mode, but just ease yourself into a slower way of living. Nobody wants to go outside when its dark and raining, so enjoy cosy evenings and long sleeps.
Rituals are your friend
Rituals are pretty much my favourite thing to talk about right now. Journalling/blogging, spending 5 minutes enjoying a cuppa in silence (without your phone!, meditating, long pampering sessions – if it makes you feel good then go for it. Schedule it in to your diary, make it into a routine, and enjoy it. The simplest of activities can really make a difference to how contended you feel and the quality of your life. Having something to look forward to on a regular basis can have a huge positive impact on your mental wellbeing.
Late autumn and winter is Vata season, where we can be prone to anxiety, dry skin – including eczema, and a whole host of other factors to make you feel miserable. You can counter excess Vata by avoiding raw foods (bye salad) and instead having lots of warming, hearty dishes like lentils, stews and soups. Equally, drink lots of warm drinks, especially ginger tea. Get plenty of sleep and rest, and make sure you stay warm. Abhyanga – a self massage using oils – is definitely your friend this season, particularly if you use sesame or almond oils.
If you are feeling like SAD is affecting your ability to cope with everyday life, go to your GP, talk to a friend or phone a helpline like the Samaritans. Please don’t suffer in silence <3
What are your tips for getting through the cold season?