Have you ever noticed that as the seasons change your mood suddenly seems to shift? Seasonal depression, commonly known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) affects nearly 5 percent of the population each year. Some common symptoms of seasonal depression include: anxiety, sleeping problems, overeating and even mood swings. Don’t let cold weather give you the blues — practice these five ways to boost your mood this winter.
Spend Time in the Sun
Sunlight produces serotonin in the body which is the chemical that directly affects your mood levels. As the days grow shorter during the winter, it is important that you are getting enough safe sun exposure. Try spending anywhere from 3-15 minutes in indirect sunlight to brighten up your day—and remember to always wear sunscreen!
We all know how easy it can be to stay indoors when the weather gets colder. However, a little breath of fresh air might be just what you need to nix your bad mood. Set a goal to get outdoors at least one to two times a week. A short walk, hike or jog will not only help you feel better mentally, but physically as well.
Wear Brighter Clothing
Although the days may get darker during the winter months, there are still plenty of ways you can lighten your mood. For instance, studies have shown that those who wore brighter clothes had a more positive psychological and physiological effect on mood. Since warmer and brighter colors are typically associated with being happy, try swapping out your black or grey clothing items for colors such as yellow, orange or green.
Make Healthy Food Choices
It can be easy to fall into bad eating habits when it gets colder. Eat healthy by switching up the way you choose to cook this winter. Familiarize yourself with healthy meal ideas and snacks to keep around the house once the temperature changes. Substitute the cookies and pasta for healthier carbohydrates such as lentils, brown rice and potatoes to help fight the urge to gorge.
Listen to Upbeat Music
Nothing boosts your mood better than your favorite song. Create a mood booster playlist to take with you on the go or enjoy at the office. The next time you begin to feel gloomy, try listening to your positive playlist to dissolve your negative mood.
Depression screenings are covered within the 10 essential health benefits in your health insurance plan. If you feel that you are suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), plan to speak with a licensed health professional in your network. If you currently do not have health insurance, discover whether you are eligible for a Special Enrollment Period. Nevada Health Link is here to answer any of your questions. Email us at CustomerserviceNVHL@exchange.nv.gov.