Blog Post / Article

BEATING SEASONAL DEPRESSION THIS WINTER

Published:
05th Jan 2020.

The sky is grey, the wind passes straight through you and finishing work feels like bedtime.

How was your week? Why do we ask? Well, many of us would agree that depression can get worse in Winter. Do you get a feeling of anxiety worse with the cold weather?

As recognised by the NHS, ‘Seasonal Affective Disorder’ is a common buzzkill around this time of year for millions of Brits. SAD, as it’s referred to, describes the sadness felt in winter months, there’s something about the dark, cold days that can give people a small sense of despair, guilt, or worthlessness.

It can be very normal to have these feelings, even if you’re not a bah-humbug. Christmas and New Year often pose an excess of forced hype, over-indulgence, and alcohol consumption levels are x3! Which is all okay. It’s also okay to remember that sad feelings still occur all around the world during our festive period.

If this is you, you’re not alone, and from everyone here at Prime, we want you to make it your goal to share more love and thought with yourself this Christmas! We understand it’s easier said than done, we can’t deny that. We’ve build on last years blog post, and created a more extensive list together of things we feel helps us combat anxiety and depression over winter.

Time

Downtime, borrowed time, lost time - it feels like there’s either too much time or none at all. What are you doing with yours?

· Don’t snooze - Snoozing your alarm starts the day with a bad decision. Yes, it does feel good at the time, but the first task of the day has arrived, and you’ve said "nope, not yet". This can lead onto going about the rest of your day just as passive about failing or lacking motivation throughout the day.

· Hobbies - We’ve got the same amount of hours in a day but in winter, even if it doesn’t feel like it. The lack of daylight, motivation and cold deceives us into falling victim to the shorter days and spending less time doing things we’d usually enjoy in the summer. To overcome this, try some indoor/winter hobbies such as reading, cooking, home workouts, or learning new skills.

· Give yourself time - Take a moment to slow and stop. For some people, the solution to ease loneliness or depression is to keep active around the clock and never give yourself a minute to rest. Doing this can work, but for others, it’s good to remember that it’s okay to have nothing to do, or no one to see, even at this time of year. Challenging yourself to be busy 24/7 leaves you no time to think about yourself, and sparks negativity the minute you’re stuck for plans. Try and take things slower and give your schedule more space to breathe.

Environment

What surrounds you? What can you introduce in your home to feel better? What can you eliminate at work to feel less stressed? Begin thinking about what environments you can control.

· Nature - Are you connecting enough? It can be hard sometimes to find time to feel the sunlight and fresh air when it’s grey and wet outside. However, with some appropriate layers and a CBD Lip Balm, you can get out of the house and enjoy some of nature in the Winter months. No one likes getting caught up in the wind and rain, because we never plan to enjoy it, but connecting with harsh winter elements on your own terms can be empowering.

· Purity - Get some indoor plants for at home or the office. It’s said that the colour green sparks the thought of nature, good health and tranquillity. Besides that, plants make the air cleaner and fresher. Reducing symptoms of anxiety and panic attacks rely on your ability to take in oxygen, being stuck indoors with fake heat and stuffy airflow is likely to counteract your chances of finding your breath.

· Less social media - Do not surround yourself with the accomplishment of others, this only leads to envy and self-pity. With the cold weather driving everyone indoors, it’s just standard procedure for some of us to curl up somewhere warm and sink into social media. Here are three facts to help drive your digital detox this Winter:

· Comparing the success of others against your own, often still leaves you focussing on what you aren’t successful in.
· Humans have a strange motivation to look for things that will hurt them, in the hope they don’t find it.
· Posting things for peer approval risks leaving you feeling redundant when you don’t get the response you want.

· Listening to music - Music has the power to carry your thoughts, which can be a huge blessing, so don’t make it a curse as well. Music sparks emotion in the darkest of places and is literally like a drug to some people, so use it to your advantage whenever possible, and keep some earphones handy.

· Your bedroom - We don’t know much about Feng Shui, but we can tell you that a messy bedroom makes it hard to clear a messy mind. Without a comfortable, clear physical space, a clear mental space will be harder to locate. Also, consider using light therapy while you sleep. SAD lights stimulate exposure to sunlight and make your brain feel like it receives enough melatonin, and therefore reduces daytime tiredness. This also increases your serotonin levels - one of the hormones that affect your mood.

Lifestyle

Lifestyle is defined as the way you choose to live, which is more about what you aspire to be, the things you care about, and the things that you ultimately choose to affect you. For example, several lifestyle choices force a subliminal feeling of sadness as well as happiness, and being able to leverage them will allow you to focus on the good vibes only.

· Make your bed upon waking - Not just to maintain a tidy room, but doing this takes discipline, and that’s a simple purpose. Training your brain to be less complacent when seeking effort or motivation will help to eliminate feelings of self-doubt and focus your mind on daily goals.

· Eat well and cook - As easy as it is to pick up a microwave meal and be eating minutes later, its fact that these kinds of foods and processed meals are not only bad for our diet, but nutritionists will tell you bad diet is linked to depression just as much as bad health - they go hand in hand. So spend extra time choosing recipes, selecting ingredients and experimenting with flavours. Not only is it therapeutic to let your creativity run, but eating your tasty work satisfies the craving of achievement

· Chase those endorphins - It’s no secret that exercise releases feel-good moments, but what about breathing and balance exercise too? Yoga and meditation are both said to revive people, helping them to improve internal balance and become more grounded and focused. A workout high isn’t the only way to get your fix though - have you ever just danced or sang your heart out because you’re alone in the house? Try it! There’s something about being part of the music that gets your endorphins flowing.

· Eliminate negative triggers - As mentioned, you control your lifestyle, so it’s good to have a sit back, take a birds-eye view, and pin-point any negative triggers. From here you can better judge what’s necessary and what’s not. For example, are you always rushed for work because you have a particular make-up regime, or maybe you put too much attention on choosing a fresh outfit each day? These are both things you can change, but only if you can decide to care less about them. We all know how hectic the morning commute can be, so why not consider ways to avoid traffic, like walking or using public transport. If there’s one best-kept secret to using public transport, it’s giving yourself the extra time so you can squeeze in a phone call to a loved one, a little nap, read your book, or even meditation session.

Wellbeing

Although we’ve been talking about seasonal depression, looking after your wellbeing is pretty much the nutshell that surrounds this blog post. Anxiety around Christmas can be managed in similar ways to other forms of mental suffering. Here are our top 5 tips to care for your wellbeing

· Don’t overthink / overgeneralise - Overthinking makes you worry about things that are not even there yet, and overgeneralization makes it easier to just assume a negative outcome. Don’t try and predict everything, keep curious and be mindful of your well being becoming affected by your negative influence. Self-reflection is key.

· Routine - Take this one with a pinch of salt because sometimes routine is the reason for stress. But the idea is having a couple of daily goals / weekly goals that can be achieved even if things don’t go to plan. Being able to complete your own set goals will have you feeling like you’ve achieved short term expectations. The sleeping pattern also falls under this one, as it’s important to stick to it if you’re likely to get anxiety around Christmas. Try and form a bedtime routine to train your brain into winding down, this could be reading or tidying the kitchen, maybe listening to a podcast - but if you do it each night before bed, you’ll find that your mind and body are in sync and ready to snooze!

· Remember to reward yourself - This links back to routine and goals slightly, but is more about patting yourself on the back every once in a while. You don’t have to go out and buy yourself a gift, just the fact of recognising you’ve outdone yourself physically or mentally is a reward in itself. Acknowledgement of internal positivity and progression is crucial to battling wintertime anxiety.

· Be selfishly selfless - it’s impossible to do a selfless good deed, meaning if you feel good afterwards… it wasn’t selfless. And if that’s the case then you SHOULD be selfish. Taking pleasure from knowing you made someone else’s day better is a subliminal way to reward yourself, and if that makes it selfish, well who cares?

· Gratitude - Remember to be thankful for the things and people in your life that are positive, and be glad that you don’t have less. Show gratitude towards yourself for being the way you are - in the end, your thoughts and actions are the reason you’re not feeling any worse.

CBD

As you’re aware CBD is a wellbeing product with many reported benefits. We can’t legally speak about the effects like a doctor would, but we can say that it works itself around your body through your endocannabinoid system, a regulatory system that is concerned by things like the nervous system, pain management, metabolism and mood. CBD is even used in e-liquids, skincare, beauty products and muscle balm let alone the many edibles available.

Check out our other blog posts to find out more regarding CBD, and how it can help you this Winter!

Readers should note that the regulations and data surrounding marijuana, CBD, and other related products are still developing. As such, the information contained in this post should not be construed as medical or legal advice. Always consult with your doctor before trying any substance or supplement.

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