Do you feel like you lose a little piece of yourself when the seasons change? Us, too. Let’s face it: sunlight is important. Just talk to any expert in the game and they’ll stress the importance of Vitamin D and why it’s so vital to our sense of well-being.
The sun is abundant in the summertime and most people have the motivation to complete their tasks and tend to feel happier. But as the leaves turn and the daylight hours shorten, you may begin to experience waves of sadness as you perhaps get outside to soak up the sunshine vitamin a bit less. With winter rapidly approaching (and the end of daylight savings time hitting hard) we wanted to shed some light on Seasonal Affective Disorder and how to maintain a summer mindset even as the seasons change.
According to the Mayo Clinic, seasonal affective disorder (aptly named, SAD) is a type of depression related to changes in seasons, usually beginning and ending at about the same time every year with symptoms starting in the fall and continuing into the winter months, draining your energy and making you feel, well, more moody.
Some of the most common symptoms of winter-onset SAD include:
- Appetite changes, especially a craving for carbs (helloooo holiday cookies!)
- Tiredness or low energy
- Brain fog
Relatable? Same. The good news is that there are plenty of steps you can take to keep your mood and motivation steady even when the sun doesn’t come out to play. If you are interested in learning more about brain health and mood, we recommend following the clinical work of renowned Dr. Daniel Amen or the Danish practice of Hygge.
Meantime, I compiled three simple and actionable tips for combatting the seasonal blues that I practice daily to keep a positive “summer mindset.”
~ Caitlin, Solara Suncare Marketing Intern
1. Adopt Hygge
Hygge is a Danish practice that essentially focuses on being kind to yourself, adopting the practice of putting your mental state first, in a feeling of coziness and warmth. So, simple acts such as transforming your personal space into a space you seek refuge, comfort and mental peace, be it through candles, music and cozy blankets, or any other decor that makes your mind find peace. Hygge can also include adopting simple acts such as painting freely or even simpler, like enjoying a hot cocoa candleside while listening to your favorite album with your phone on airplane mode. Essentially it’s a lifestyle of infusing simple little acts of self worth that put your mental health first in your everyday environment. If you’re curious to learn more, check out this popular book on Hygge.
2. Seek the Sun!
You heard us correctly. We’re the sunscreen company that celebrates the sunshine, so grab your fanny pack and sneaks and get outdoors! According to the Cleveland Clinic, “Getting more sunlight can help improve your symptoms.” Even if it’s chilly, pop on your fav podcast (or Taylor Swift’s “Midnights” on repeat, no judgment), a bottle of water, and your fav mineral SPF and get those steps in, while also soaking up that daily dose of Vitamin D. In addition to the exposure to natural light (yes, you still get sun exposure when you wear sunscreen), experts say that exercise as simple as just walking in the fresh air can relieve stress and anxiety, which can also play a role in your overall physical and mental health, including lessening SAD symptoms. Can’t squeeze a walk in every day? No worries. Try increasing the amount of fresh air and sunlight that enters your home or office instead.
3. Use Journaling to Free Your Mind
According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, journaling can help you manage anxiety and reduce stress. It’s a powerful tool that’s accessible to everyone and it’s something you can do anywhere and at any time. If you aren’t sure where to start, simply start by writing down anything that is occupying space in your head. On days when my brain feels like it’s on overdrive, I love to dump all of my thoughts and feelings onto a page and visually see them. I find that writing it down allows me the space to work through my emotions and figure out how to address them in an organized way.
One misconception about journaling is that you only need to do it when you are struggling or feel overwhelmed, but it’s a great practice to journal when you're having a great day, too. I love to write my dreams, goals, hopes, and ambitions. I also love to write positive affirmations and make my journal my safe place. Target has some of my favorite journals but also know journaling can be as simple as just writing things down on a random piece of paper.
4. Spend Time With Loved Ones
It’s no surprise we recommend hanging out with your squad when you need a mindset shift! Whether you’re learning TikTok dances together or just watching Love is Blind on Netflix, spending time with your friends and family can infuse your life and mindset with an infinite amount of good vibes.
Personally, I always find that after hanging out with my friends or family I feel refreshed, happy and motivated. Sometimes getting out and about with other people gives your mind an unintended diversion to think about new things and not be burdened by the stresses of the day. I know it can be especially hard to get out when it’s darker and cold, but once you do, you’ll find new energy!
Note: Our blog content is for informational purposes only and any product, supplement, medical or dietary recommendations are personal to those featured in or authors of our blog posts only. Always consult your trusted medical practitioner to determine the best routine, treatment or products/practices for you.