10 Ways to Get Your Mojo Back When You Feel Down This Winter
For when it's not actually the most wonderful time of the year
For so many of us, fall is magical, a season which offers us respite from summer's relentless heat and humidity. There's so much to enjoy about the season: sweater weather, warm beverages, holidays, vacation time. But for some of us, as the mercury drops, so does our mojo.
I'm one of the estimated 10 million people in the U.S. who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, or S.A.D. People with it are prone to bouts of depression starting in fall and usually ending come spring. It can start off with feeling generally bummed, but can (and has) evolve into real feelings of hopelessness and thoughts of suicide, and can include symptoms like irritability, difficulty concentrating, weight gain, appetite issues, malaise, social anxiety and hypersomnia, which is a tendency to sleep too much.
In the past, S.A.D. has caused me to become hermetically sealed to my couch in a sweatpants-and-ick-covered malaise only broken for bathroom breaks or Seamless delivery. But over the past year or so, I've learned to live with my seasonal mood-altering buddy -- so much so that I'm able to mitigate the symptoms quite well.
Before you seal yourself into your home to languish until the return of summer, try some of these mood-boosting mojo makers through the colder weather months.
Images via Getty
Get Access to Bright Light
Lack of light exposure is thought to exacerbate S.A.D., which means you need access to all the light you can find. Any sliver of sunlight sends me outside or to the nearest window, and I'm also the proud owner of a broadband light box, which emits bright light into my dark hovel of a New York City apartment.
Maintain a Regular Exercise Schedule
You knew this was coming: Exercise boosts those all-important serotonin levels that help regulate mood and mental health, so it's pretty crucial to combatting S.A.D. If I feel inclined to binge a show, I make myself a deal that I have to watch at least two episodes on the Stairmaster or elliptical, then I can watch the rest at home.
Force Trips Outside the House
As a writer, I can make any excuse to spend weeks without leaving my house if I'm on a deadline, which means it can be a long, depressing time in solitude if I don't watch it. I've found leaving the apartment, even for an hour or two, helps. I now work outside my apartment among the living with services like Spacious.
Plan a Trip
There is no better time to skip town than when it's dark, cold, and lonely where you are. There are plenty of airline deals after the New Year, and there are countless tickets to destinations for next to nothing. If you're so poor you can barely pay attention, drive or take transit to visit a nearby beach or town. Last winter, I took the subway to various places I'd never seen before. A change of scenery really helps.