For many, seasonal blues are a fact of life, especially once the distraction of the holidays has come and gone. After all, the days seem shorter since daylight is limited. The sun invariably shines less often. And, the real kicker, you get less time outside soaking up the rays. Spending extra time inside in front of your computer while you’re earning your degree online can exacerbate these feelings.
Consider these tips for beating the winter doldrums and staying on track with your studies:
- Try Light Therapy
The lack of natural sunlight can certainly mess with your mood, especially for those living in the Northern hemisphere. According to a study by the American Journal of Psychiatry, the effects of light therapy are comparable to the benefits of taking antidepressants. Consider the iSAD Lamp app, which turns your iPhone into a sunrise-simulating alarm clock.
- Exercise Regularly
It’s no secret that regular exercise has benefits across the board. When it comes to routine morning exercise, better sleep, a cheerier disposition and increased productivity throughout the day are among the major boons. Unfortunately, it can be hard to motivate yourself to hit the gym when it’s pitch-black outside. If you can, hire a personal trainer for part of the year to help you stick with it.
- Surround Yourself with Color
Winter can be pretty dull when there’s no snow on the ground. That’s why there’s no better time to wear and surround yourself with vibrant hues. Shades like red, orange and yellow are warm and welcoming — invigorating, too.
- Get a Whiff of Citrus
Orange and lemon scents are shown to energize and increase moods. Need proof? A study published in NeuroImmunoModulation found that when a dozen patients suffering from depression were exposed to citrus smells, it changed hormone levels and boosted immune function.
- Meditate (Yes, Meditate!)
Reducing stress and sadness have everything to do with your outlook in life. And your outlook is closely linked to what — and how much — you accomplish. Meditation can really help lower stress levels and, in turn, reduce instances of depression, according to a study published in Psychoneuroendocrinology — even when it’s as little as 12 minutes a day.