Hello darkness, my old friend. Daylight savings have rolled around again. The days are getting shorter, and while some of us are all about getting cozy and hibernating, a bunch of us are not feeling it. Less daylight can make us sluggish, anxious, unproductive, and generally bummed out to the point of feeling truly depressed. But it’s not all doom and gloom. We've got some tips to help you conquer the winter blues.
What is SAD?
Before we delve into the remedies, here’s a brief explanation as to why you might be feeling this way. A reduction in sunlight can mess with your brain chemistry, reducing the production of melatonin (the hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle) and serotonin (the "happy" chemical) and disrupting your internal clock. Some folks get bogged down with a pretty severe bout of the winter blues.
If you find yourself anywhere in that club, you are not alone. Millions of Americans struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder, which has the fitting acronym SAD. In all, about two-thirds of adults notice negative mood changes when winter rolls in. Here's what you can do to turn that frown upside down and regulate your body clock!
Get a Light Therapy Lamp
The Mayo Clinic recommends getting a light therapy lamp, which mimics sunlight and can literally brighten your day. It’s really like a mood-boosting sun in a box! Make sure it delivers around 10,000 lux of light and minimal UV rays. Use it for 20-30 minutes within the first hour of waking up. Sit about 16 to 24 inches from it with your eyes open, but don't stare directly into the light. Your future self will thank you for those sunny vibes.
Hang Out with Some Trees
A nature walk can be a game-changer for beating the winter blues. If you're stuck commuting in the dark, this is your master plan. Ideally, stroll in a green space or near some trees. Trees are mood-boosting powerhouses. In Japan, people have even made chilling among trees a national pastime. Shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing, is like a soothing detox for your soul. In effect, nature (and trees especially) turns on your "rest and digest" mode, calming your heart rate and promoting an overall sense of well-being.
Meditation might sound intimidating, but it doesn't have to be. Sure, your mind is like a squirrel on a caffeine binge at first, but that's completely normal. Buddhist practitioners dubbed this the "monkey mind," describing that state of restlessness and lack of control of one's thoughts. Really, no one is a meditation or mindfulness pro right from the get-go. That’s why we use guided meditations as our secret weapon. All you have to do is let the soothing words of a calming (or inspirational) voice wash over you and try and focus on your breath.
Our favorite app is Insight Timer. It's free and offers 180k+ guided meditations, so you will surely find one that takes you to your ideal Zen zone. Insight Timer also has mindfulness exercises, breathwork, guided visualizations, bedtime stories, and chill music tracks.
Ditch the Blue Light at Bedtime
When night falls, ditch the screens — phones, laptops, TVs — emitting that sleep-wrecking blue light. Blue light messes with the production of melatonin, the hormone that is crucial for getting a good night’s rest. Speaking of bedtime, get serious about sticking to a consistent sleep schedule — every single day. This means no cheating on weekends. Your body clock will thank you!
Enhance Your Work and Living Space
Another way to boost your serotonin levels is to optimize your work and chill zones for maximum feel-good vibes. A happy environment will make a happier you! Start with your office. Perhaps it’s time to finally upgrade your office chair with a design that’s ergonomic and keeps fatigue at bay. Our Python II offers fantastic adjustable lumbar support, making back pain a thing of the past. The Norn features an ergonomic rocking function that allows you to find the most comfortable reclining position for work and rest.
And when it comes to your living space, an ultra-cozy lounge chair to curl up in during the long winter months will do wonders for your mood. Our cushy Todd Lounge Chair has been compared to sitting in clouds! Or find a new way to display all the precious keepsakes and collectibles that put a smile on your face. Our handcrafted HOSC Curio Cabinet is a luxe, one-of-a-kind statement piece. Best of all, it adds some ambient mood lighting to your environment via the warm LED strip bar illuminating the shelves.
So, there you have it, your quick guide to kicking winter's butt. Beat the wintertime blues and keep the good vibes rolling!