In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.
And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back. – Albert Camus
It’s not unusual to get a little blue around winter time. The drop in temperature, lack of sunlight, wet and dreariness can easily creep in and impact our mood and overall wellbeing. In some cases, the winter blues can turn into SAD – or Seasonal Affective Disorder. This is a type of depression that tends to arrive with the cooler seasons, and can leave you with overwhelming feelings of lethargy, hopelessness, moodiness, agitation or other symptoms closely associated with depression. This condition is uncommon in Australia – it tends to affect people living in countries further away from the equator (where daytime shrinks to provide minimal sunlight). However, it’s always an important time of year to take good care of yourself – particularly if you find yourself feeling seasonably glum or irritable.
Below are a few tips to help you ward off the winter blues, and find your invincible summer…
Chase the sun around.
A lack of sunlight can disrupt the body’s serotonin & melatonin levels, and wreak havoc with our Circadian rhythms (aka our biological clock). While it can be tricky to catch some rays in the winter months, it’s important to soak them up when and where you can. When weather permits, try to get outside for a walk, and let your body benefit from the sunshine – even just 10min here and there can make a big difference. You can also purchase light therapy lamps to get your sunlight fix indoors and give your body clock a boost.
Make and keep plans.
When you’re feeling cold & miserable, it can seem like a massive effort to get out of bed and keep those plans with a friend you made a week ago. Cancelling might seem like the best option in the moment. However, cutting yourself off from positive interactions with friends and family can serve to inflate depressive symptoms and establish unhealthy social withdrawal behaviours. Try to make it a priority to see friends and plan fun activities that you actually look forward to. (Click here for a fun list of winter-time activities under $50 you can do in Sydney).
Instead of getting grumpy and reactive about the weather and your mood, why not use it as an opportunity to pause and look inward? Try mindful breathing exercises, a daily gratitude practice or regular yoga classes to improve self awareness and build resilience. As you begin to develop a healthier, more detached relationship from your thoughts and feelings, you’ll realise how much more power you have in moderating your mood. (Click here for a fun upcoming workshop with us which will help you develop greater self-awareness and self-compassion).
Have a chat.
Sadness and despair can be heavy to carry. Often the best thing to do, far better than trying to ignore or suppress it, is chatting to someone. Being open and exploring how you’re feeling with someone who is a patient and compassionate listener can do wonders to help you better understand whats affecting you and lessen feelings of isolation. As a courtesy, before having a heavy chat with a friend or family member, it’s great to ask if they are in the right headspace to talk about it and hold some space for you. Alternatively, you can book in a session with a therapist whose sole purpose is to hear you out and give you helpful strategies to manage your stuff.
Because we love you, we’ve also included our kick-ass ‘Keep Sydney Cosy‘ playlist – a carefully curated selection of warm, toasty tunes, perfect for a cosy winter dinner party or a chill night in. Listen below or follow the playlist on Spotify here.