With today’s Winter Solstice we are officially at risk of slipping into the depression that comes with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
The SAD that accompanies darker days and colder months, for many people, begins in the Fall and is often so subtle that we don’t realize it’s happened until we one day Web MD ourselves. This year, however, we may be hyperaware given all the natural and political disasters we’ve endured. Enough is enough already.
To stave off the home-treatable melancholy, add these simple remedies to your daily routine. For a more intense sluggishness — one that keeps you from performing your normal activities for days at a time — please see a doctor, IRL.
Get some sunshine.
You may have noticed it gets more difficult to wake up at a certain time when the sun doesn’t even shine until later in the day. The darker hours, coupled with the colder weather may be leading to a desire to stay in and snuggle (good news) and a vitamin D deficiency (bad news). Be sure to talk a walk at lunch, when the sun is at its peak, to get some fresh air and rays. Layer up in loose-fitting clothes; enjoy the changes of nature.
Turn the lights off.
It’s not always good to jam our busy human lives into a schedule that’s not fitting with mother nature. There are ebbs and flows to the sunshine for a reason. Avoid turning on all the lights (including your phone, computer and TV), first thing in the morning, if you wake before the sun rises. Use lower watt bulbs or a softer light, like the Himalayan Salt Lamps, and learn to navigate your morning in the dark. The same applies for the evening. If the sun has already set when you return home, have a candlelit dinner before enjoying low-light activities like curling up in your reading nook, or asana. This will keep your nerves soothed throughout your day.
Eat energizing foods.
It’s a good idea to eat seasonally. Mother nature knows what we need, and we best get in sync. Squash is a great source of Vitamin A to reduce the inflammation that leads to colds and flus. Citrus fruit and dark leafy greens boost your immune system with Vitamin C. And though mushroom season is technically Autumn, eating these along with tofu gives us another dose of immune system support through Vitamin D.
When in doubt, be like a bear. Running around from holiday party to holiday party is not only a difficult commute but all the sugar you’re likely politely consuming will weaken your immune system. Be unafraid to decline an invitation or two and instead, use the colder months as an opportunity to learn meditation techniques, practice yin yoga, or dive into that yummy reading list.
Sauca (cleanliness) is the primary niyama (yogic discipline) because it makes such a significant impact on our peace of mind. Whether or not you realize it, our mind is processing all the things we need to accomplish, even while we sleep. For example, if you’ve yet to clean out that cabinet in the kitchen, it will
haunt manifest in your dreams. Get a head-start on your Spring Cleaning this Winter and you’ll notice a more sound sleep, thereby reducing your daytime stress. Bonus: you can’t be a couch potato, if you’re moving around. There’s a reason why people in the ’70s called it “housewife yoga,” smh.