Stay Over the Winter: How to Survive the Winter and Not Succumb to Cold and Darkness Despondency
In winter, it’s harder to wake up in the morning and go to work – especially if you live where it’s dark and cold. Together with a psychologist, we figured out how to support ourselves when it is gloomy and frosty outside.
Why We Feel Sad In Winter
Daylight hours are getting shorter. From darkness, people often want to sleep: the body is used to the fact that at this time of day, it is resting. Even fatigue and discomfort can be associated with a decrease in vitamin D and serotonin levels due to a lack of sunlight.
We are cold. Cold is stress for the body. When we are cold, our body uses energy to keep warm. Because of this, we get tired faster than in the warm season.
Reduced physical activity. Because of the cold, people are less likely to go outside. There are fewer walks and more transportation.
We see fewer bright colors. If in summer there is green grass, blue sky, and colorful flowers, then in winter there is only white snow from bright. Everything else is gray and sad.
How to Help Yourself Get Through the Winter
Find something that makes you happy. When you do something you enjoy, your brain releases joy hormones: serotonin, endorphin, oxytocin, and dopamine. From this, the mood improves, and the sadness subsides a little. Remember what brings you joy: reading books, walking in the woods, and gatherings with friends. It could be absolutely anything. Write down your favorite things to do and refer to the list when you’re having a hard time.
And if there are no ideas right now, read the article “How to choose the right type of vacation for yourself“.
Don’t blame yourself for being sad. Sadness is a feeling that helps us accept the inevitable moments in our lives and recover. If loved ones are ready to support you, talk to them about what you are going through now. Suppose you felt better after the conversation, but the sadness returned the next day again, which happens all the time. In that case, you should talk to a psychologist.
Keep a diary of emotions. Try writing down your emotions in a journal, especially the negative ones. This will help you understand your feelings and what is happening inside you. When you describe in your diary what you feel, the emotions subside and stop controlling you. From time to time, you can return to the journal and analyze how and when you managed to support yourself.
Figure out what you don’t like about winter. Try to understand what exactly annoys you in the cold season. Then think about how you can influence the aggravating factors and write down a plan of action. For example, you may feel uncomfortable waking up when it is dark. You can buy a light alarm clock that will simulate the dawn. Or agree with the boss and shift the working day by an hour to come to the office later.