Simple Strategies for Self-Motivation During a Seasonal Slump
Do you tend to feel low and tired when the seasons change?
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), or as I like to call it, ‘the seasonal slump’ affects many of us and the worst part is that most people don’t even realize it. They assume that their feelings of despair, tiredness and their lack of interest in everyday activities is something that only they experience.
However, thousands (if not millions) of people deal with the seasonal slump each year. Although the exact cause of the seasonal slump is unclear, it’s usually linked to the change of the weather and the lack of sunlight during the crisp fall and chilly winter days.
Some symptoms of the seasonal slump include a persistent low mood, loss of interest in daily activities, feeling lethargic, weight gain, and irritability. In the worst cases, these symptoms can have a negative impact on people’s lives and make them feel like it’s not even worth getting out of bed in the morning.
If you can relate to this type of feeling and you’re ready to say goodbye to the winter blues and actually enjoy this beautiful season, here are eight simple strategies to help you overcome the seasonal slump!
1. Build self-awareness
Self-awareness is your number one asset. You need to know your body, your moods and how certain circumstances affect those things.
Although you might want to overcome negative feelings during seasonal changes, you won’t be successful if you don’t have a level of self-awareness.
Building self-awareness takes time. But once you get there, you’ll have more success when it comes to building a strong therapeutic relationship with not just yourself, but with others too.
When you’re self-aware, you’ll be able to monitor and even change your own emotions and thoughts because you understand yourself. You know what makes you happy and what doesn’t. Therefore, when feelings associated with the seasonal slump sinks in, you can be proactive about putting those feelings in the grave and getting on with your day.
2. Stick to a routine
When I’m struggling with the seasonal slump, I make sure that I stick to my routines. Routines come in all shapes and sizes. For me, it’s about going to bed at the same time every night and getting up at the same time each morning. Even when I don’t want to get up and I’d rather snuggle up in bed all day, I force myself to do it because I know it’ll help get me out of the slump that I’m in.
If you work from home, don’t be tempted into rolling out of bed and keeping your pajamas on all day. What happens to your mindset when you stay in pajamas all day? Well, you’re going to feel sleepy and you’re probably not going to be in the right mindset to actually get things done. So, get out of bed and get dressed!
I also advise you to make sure that you get some human contact every day. I’m not talking about the humans that you live with either, I’m talking about making real connections with real people outside of your immediate circle.
Have a chat with someone at the post office, bank or grocery store. Give someone a compliment and ask how their day is going. It’s all too easy to lock yourself inside your home, order everything you need online and never see or speak to another human again. But believe me when I say that social reclusion is not good for your health! Reach out to someone each day and make an effort to meet other people. It’ll be good for you.
3. Fuel your body
What you put into your body is so important and plays a significant role in your mood and energy levels. If you constantly fuel your body with fast food and sugar, you’re going to feel more tired and less motivated.
But, if you fuel your body with things that make you feel good, you’re more likely to have the energy you need to go about your day.
Weight gain and craving carbohydrates is a common symptom of SAD, which means you’ve got to be careful. When the skies turn grey and the cold weather seeps in, make sure to nourish your body with the fuel it needs to keep going.
Unfortunately, we can’t hibernate in winter. We’re not bears! So, take extra care to fuel your body with the right foods that are going to help you feel like the best version of yourself.
4. Fuel your mind
Don’t forget to fuel your mind too. How are you talking to yourself at this time of year? What are your affirmations?
If there are things in your life that get you down, now is the time to put a stop to those things. Take me as an example. Whenever I feel like I’m in the seasonal slump, you’ll very rarely catch me watching the news. It’s just too depressing and I’m aware that I need to do what I can to fuel my mind with positive things that make me happy.
You might feel a little silly doing this, but I encourage you to look at yourself in the mirror and say positive things to yourself. Or, just say nice things to yourself as you’re doing the chores! Sooner or later, your mind is going to start believing those positive affirmations and one day you’ll wake up and feel much lighter, brighter and happier. Trust me.
5. Add more light to your home
A lack of light isn’t good for you. Yes, it’s winter and yes, most days are cloudy and dull. But that doesn’t mean you can’t bring more light into your home!
Open the blinds, pull back the curtains and put some extra lamps about the house to brighten up your home. It’s amazing how much difference a little light can make to your mood.
I always make sure that one of the first things I do every morning is to let as much natural light into the house as possible. My close friends will tell you that I’m solar-powered, and maybe they’re right.
Don’t be in the dark all winter. Let the light in!
6. Use essential oils
Don’t underestimate the power of essential oils!
I love using essential oils in the fall and winter because they uplift my spirits. I tend to go for the ones that I know will wake me up and make me feel more energized and ready to tackle the day. Of course, there are times when I’ll choose a more relaxing oil when I want to dial down and shut off after a busy day.
I usually let the room fill with steam before taking a lemon or grapefruit shower. Some companies have relaxing blends that might work for you. I suggest trying a few different ones to see what works for you and what oils and scents you like the best.
You’d be surprised at how effective essential oils and certain scents can have when it comes to elevating your mood. So if you discover an oil that works for you, stick with it!
7. Get outside more
When you’re feeling down, a short walk outside can do wonders for your mindset and mood. It doesn’t have to be a super long or strenuous walk by any means. A short walk around the neighborhood is better than nothing, plus it’ll help get your blood pumping.
If you have a dog, you might prefer to have your faithful companion join you for your walks. Some research studies have proven that spending more time outside, whether it’s hot and sunny or cold and damp, can have a wide range of health benefits. This includes reducing high blood pressure and stress, which is always a good thing.
8. Use healthy supplements
I’m not a doctor so I’m not going to recommend any supplements to you. I’m just going to briefly discuss what I use and what I believe helps me to overcome those negative feelings that so many of us experience when the seasons change.
In winter, I always take vitamin D supplements because I’m not going to get that from sunshine because let’s face it, there isn’t any. I also take vitamin C supplements blended with iron, which helps to revitalize my energy, strength, and mood.
I tend to gravitate towards the supplements that help my mood and metabolic rate. I moderate how much caffeine I put into my body and tend to keep it just one cup of coffee in the morning.
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