Feeling unmotivated and lazy during the winter is quite common for many people. Shorter days, colder temperatures and other winter qualities can lower your motivation for maintaining your social, family, and work obligations. In certain cases, this feeling can even be considered a form of depression known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Continue reading to learn about ways to stay motivated during the winter.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a form of depression that usually occurs during the winter. SAD tends to begins in fall or winter when the days become shorter and remains until the brighter days of spring or early summer. Severe cases of SAD can affect your mood, sleep, appetite, and energy levels. This can take a toll on all aspects of your life from your relationships and social life to work, school, and your sense of self-worth.
Symptoms of SAD can include:
- Low self-esteem and depression
- Loss of interest in activities you normally enjoy
- Weight and appetite change
- Feeling anger, stress, sadness, or despair
- Unexplained aches and pains
- Changes in sleeping pattern
- Lack of focus, concentration, or energy
- Use of drugs or alcohol for comfort
Combatting the effects of SAD takes willpower and motivation. Here are some tips that may uplift your mood and make the winter season feel more enjoyable.
1. Start the Day off bright.
Open up your curtains in the morning and let the natural sunlight replenish your energy. If you wake up before the sunrise, turn on the lights of your house to let the light brighten your day! Bonus points if you can find time to go outside for a walk – even if just for 10 minutes!
2. Create warmth in your house.
We all know winter temperature is cold. When our bodies are cold, we naturally become uncomfortable. Prepare for the winter by wearing appropriate clothing when going outdoors. Turn up the thermostat if you are cold at home.
Related Blog: Preparing for Winter in Canada
3. Develop a morning routine.
Set a morning routine that works for you so that you are energized and ready for the day. Take a shower or wash your face (with cold water, if required) to give you an immediate burst of energy when you get out of bed. Get changed for the day, even if you are planning to stay or work at home. Staying in your pyjamas will keep you in the mindset that it is time to sleep.
4. Maintain a proper diet.
Some people experiencing SAD may turn to drug or alcohol use to combat depression. In addition, you may be craving sweets and starchy foods during the winter. Sticking to a well-balanced diet will give your body the energy it needs to work throughout the day.
5. Get moving!
Health experts recommend that adults get 150 minutes of exercise during a week. Whether you choose to move indoors or outdoors, choose an exercise routine that works with your schedule. Goal setting is crucial if you have fitness aspirations. Look at the bigger picture and set a goal to accomplish throughout the winter. You won’t notice fitness changes immediately, so use short-term goals to keep yourself motivated.
Related blog: Short, Medium, and Long-Term Goals
6. Reach out to other people.
Talk to your friends, family, and loved ones if you are feeling depressed or unmotivated. Sometimes, simple social interactions can be enough to boost your mood. This is especially true for those who may have limited social interaction from staying home during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are in an area with severe COVID-19 closures, try to reach out to others online to schedule video calls or other methods of communication.
Find out what gets you motivated.
The examples listed above are only a few ways to combat SAD during the winter. In reality, SAD can affect everyone differently. Try different things and see what gets you motivated to work. Consult a healthcare provider if SAD symptoms remain persistent and negatively impacting your daily life.
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