Stay Ahead of the Winter Blues
It’s easy to fall into the winter blues when temperatures plummet and it’s dark and dreary outside. You might find that you start feeling lethargic and it might become harder and harder to get out of bed in the morning. These are all symptoms of seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, a seasonal form of depression triggered by the lack of sunshine in the wintertime. The source of the problem comes from a disturbance in your body’s circadian rhythm that changes your body’s levels of serotonin and melatonin. If you find yourself feeling blue, here are some tips to help you feel better through the winter months!
Stick to a Schedule
Most people who suffer from SAD have a hard time sleeping at night and waking up in the morning. Keeping your body on a regular sleep schedule can help you get a better night’s sleep which deters symptoms of seasonal affective disorder.
Spend Time with Others
Having quality time with friends and loved ones can really lift your spirits when the weather is cold and grey outside. Plan fun activities to do, grab a cup of coffee, a meal, or coordinate going to a yoga class with your friends. Having some things to look forward to during the week will help tremendously!
Take Time to Exercise
Giving your body exercise and exposure to light during the winter months is one of the best ways you can combat SAD. No one likes to be cooped up inside for a long period of time, so if it’s not too cold, try to get outside as much as you can. Walking or running outside can be very beneficial to the body since you get exercise and exposure to sunshine and light. If you can’t get outside, then take your exercise inside! Spend 30 minutes on a bike, treadmill or make time for your favorite yoga class.
Yoga practice is a great way to combat SAD by tapping into the mind-body connection. It is an incredible tool to reset the nervous system and help release tension and stress by increasing your serotonin levels. If you have a case of the winter blues, try incorporating these poses into your practice.
Start by standing on your mat with your feet planted strongly on the floor. Firm your glutes and raise your hands up over your head with your palms together. Push your hips forward, look backward and lift your chest up towards the sky. This pose will help open your heart and lengthen your body.
Let your body relax and reset in Child’s Pose. From all fours, sink your hips back toward your heels and lower your body towards your thighs. Reach your arms out in front of you and rest there for as long as your body needs.
In the winter, the spine and back can feel very stiff when exposed to cold temperatures. Cat-Cow flow can help release this tension in your muscles. In tabletop position, evenly distribute your weight through your hands and legs. For Cat pose, exhale your belly button towards your spine and lift upwards, scooping the tailbone and allowing the chin to rest on your chest. For Cow pose, inhale and lift your sitting bones and chest toward the ceiling and allow your belly to sink towards the floor. Lift your head to look straight ahead. Complete as many rounds of the two as you would like.
If you find yourself feeling down, give your body a re-charge with these daily practices and yoga asanas! If you are looking for some activity to help you get out of the house, try a style of yoga that your body is craving by viewing our full schedule of classes.