When winter rolls around so do the cold, gloomy days which makes it extra important to practice mindfulness and self-care. Seasonal affective disorder (S.A.D) is a type of depression that is related to the changes in season. For most people, the disorder begins in the fall and continues into the winter months. Taking steps to keep your mood steady throughout the year is important, especially when being in college. Keep reading below to discover 8 ways to be mindful during this S.A.D time of year.
1. Create A Journal
Writing down all your thoughts, concerns, ideas and emotions into a journal helps release stress and also allows you to be more present in the moment. Writing down everything for only you allows for a judgment-free zone from others and you can free your mind from anything. Once you’re done you can crumple up the paper and throw it away, or you can keep it to look back on and see how you have grown. Writing in journals can be hard to do every day, but keeping near your bed is an easy way to allow yourself to write something before going to bed. Push yourself to take 10 minutes a day to write about how you are feeling, it is a great way to destress.
2. Adult Coloring Books
An adult coloring book is another way for you to stay mindful during the winter. As silly as this sounds, you need to try it at least once before canceling it out as an option. Buying an adult coloring book is a great way for your mind to focus on the art and not about all the stress in your daily life. It doesn’t necessarily mean your stress will go away completely, but it will distract you for the time being and you may get over what you were stressed about by the time you are done coloring. You may even forget about your worries and it will help you feel a lot more relaxed. You can lay in bed, light a candle and just color. The coloring doesn’t need to be perfect; it just needs to be for you!
Yoga is a mindful practice that has charm since you are relaxed, and getting a good stretch and strengthen into your day. Yoga allows you to focus on your breathing and remain in the moment. During yoga, you can also focus on an intention you have for the day or week, like staying present or being grateful for your loved ones. This allows you to focus on the positive and keep a better mood. Don’t worry if you aren’t that flexible, yoga is an open environment and it isn’t about the flexibility, it’s about being with your body.
4. Staying Active
Much like yoga, exercise and staying active can have powerful effects on your mind. Naturally in the winter people don’t go out as often since its so cold. It makes walks and other outdoor activities brutal to do, so it is important that you are finding your activity in other places. Going to the gym and getting a workout can help you keep a steady mindset. Doing cardio, weightlifting, workout classes or even playing some indoor basketball can help keep your mind distracted. It also helps you get some exercise in and once you’re done with your exercise you can have a better outlook on the rest of your day.
5. Pamper Yourself
Every once in awhile, we all need to be spoiled. Making a hot bath, putting on a face mask, or painting your nails are all good ways to practice mindfulness. It gives your mind a break on all your worries and stresses of the week. If none of these appeals to you, then you can really do anything that pampers you. That may be reading a book, painting, baking or even watching a movie. Allow yourself to be present in the moment when doing any of these activities and it may allow you to change your perspective on any of the negative thoughts you previously had.
6. Start The Day Off Right
Becoming mindful as soon as you wake up, is a great way to be conscious of your emotions throughout the rest of your day. When you wake up try not to go straight to your phone, instead, do some small stretches and think in your head what your goals are for the day. Creating a mini checklist of what you want to get done in the day is a great habit to build. Become aware of all your thoughts in the morning, the good and the bad, and try to let go of any negative thoughts. Taking a few deep breaths and during each breath let go of one bad thought.
Free downloadable To Do list below:
7. Eat Mindfully
People tend to just scarf their food down without really tasting the flavors. Make it a habit to take small bites and chew your food slowly. While eating try to notice all the flavors and textures in your food. Eating too fast can sometimes make you feel hungry still and think to eat more, but really your body just needs time to digest the food. Try not to be on your phone, or watching TV while eating because it can make you eat mindlessly.
8. Body Scan
Whenever you’re feeling really stressed or worrisome try to take time to do a body scan. Bring your attention to your body and take deep breaths. Try to focus your breathing onto the areas that feel any tension. The body scan can allow you to be present with your body and notice where any aching or tension is. There are many apps, such as “Rituals”, that help with body meditations.