The end of the year typically brings holiday cheer and hot cocoa for most, but for many of us it also brings the winter blues and seasonal depression. Creatives are typically hit especially hard at this time of the year, and it’s important to take extra care of your brain when these feelings hit. In this post, we’ll give you 5 tips to help lift your spirits from the inside out.
Self Care Tips To Beat The Winter Blues
Before we dive in…
Just to clarify before we begin, the “winter blues” are very different from diagnosed seasonal depression, aka “Seasonal Affective Disorder” or SAD. The “winter blues” is not a clinical diagnosis. This feeling is typically limited to the winter months and doesn’t interfere with your ability to function through your day to day. SAD may require medication or therapy from a health professional. The tips in this post are simply self care methods that can help anyone looking for some positive methods to help you out during these winter months.
If you need it, please don’t hesitate to seek help! There are many programs that focus solely on providing mental health resources for those who need it. This post, “Mental Health Resources for Musicians” has some great ones to consider.
That being said, let’s get started!
Get Some Sunlight
Vitamin D is proven to help stabilize and improve your emotional health, and sunlight is a great way to get it. I know it gets cold outside for a lot of you, but it’s still important to get your daily dose of sunlight. Grab a sweater and take a 10-20 minute walk. Take deep breaths as you walk and feel the sunlight on your face. This is a great time to find some peace in the outdoors and take a quick break while you soak up some vitamins.
Add Some Indoor Plants To Your Home
There are a bunch of benefits of having plants in your space. One of which, improved air quality. According to a study from NASA, houseplants can help improve air quality by removing cancer-causing chemicals like formaldehyde and benzene from the air.
Aside from cleaning the air around you, spending time around plants has been proven to promote a sense of calm for those who have them vs those who don’t. Especially if you work from home, grab a little plant to put on your desk or in your studio. Doesn’t hurt to have a little plant buddy to keep you company. 🌱
Listen To Feel Good Music
Many studies show that listening to music can lower your blood pressure and your heart rate, which are both things that rise when you’re stressed. Music can even help lower the actual stress hormones in your body. As an artist, you probably already have your favorite genres that make you feel good. Take a break and queue up the songs that make you happiest. You can even combine listening to music with your walk outside.
For me, there’s nothing better than some Tame Impala on a beautiful sunny day. 😉
Fix Your Sleep Schedule
Sleep has a major affect on your health and well-being. With it getting darker outside earlier, it’s easy for your sleep schedule to get messed up. The Sleep Foundation estimates “…over 300 million people worldwide have depression, a type of mood disorder marked by feelings of sadness or hopelessness. Around 75% of depressed people show symptoms of insomnia, and many people with depression also suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness and hypersomnia, which is sleeping too much.”
If your sleep schedule is screwed up, there are a couple ways to fix it…
- Try not to take naps during the day, even if you’re tired.
- Avoid looking at your phone before bed.
- Get up at the same time every day.
- Take some melotonin 30 mins to an hour before bed.
We’ve talked about meditation many times over the past year here on the blog. Meditation forces you to sit down, close your eyes, and take the moment to recognize that what you’re feeling is normal and manageable. It gives you a chance to relax your mind and take note of exactly what it is that’s causing you to feel this way. Once you accept this feeling, you can grab a hold of it, assess what you can do about it, and move past it and forward with an actionable plan.
For a simple way to try and meditate, try this:
- Sit comfortably with the best posture you can manage. (Try sitting on a chair or on the floor with your legs crossed.)
- Breathe in through your nose for four counts. (You should count at approximately one beat per second. If you have a metronome handy, use it!)
- Hold that deep breath in your lungs for four counts.
- Exhale through your mouth for four counts.
- Hold with your lungs empty for four counts.
Meditation Oak is a great meditation app for beginners and veterans alike. Many of our Sym Staff use this app and find a lot of benefits from it. Trust me, as little as 10 minutes a day can work wonders.
Remember that you are not alone! We all could use a helping hand. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your friends and family when you’re having a tough time. No matter how big or small your issue, nothing is too small to talk about. Life is f*****g hard, but it’s not as hard when we go through it together.
Through de-stigmatizing the way we talk about mental health, we reassure those suffering from it that they can feel comfortable asking for help when they need it. Everyone should have the resources to reach out without judgement and move forward with confidence.