Shrug Off the Winter Blues in Recovery with These Helpful Tips
Winter is tough for many people, for many reasons. Those in recovery from addiction can feel like it is a difficult season to navigate. ‘Winter blues’ is used to describe a mild form of the seasonal affective disorder that occurs during winter months. Some people experience fatigue, drowsiness, withdrawal from others, and irritability. Many people experience winter blues that make them feel trapped. Addiction recovery intensifies this sometimes, which may trigger a relapse. It is important to find support and healing for the winter blues in recovery.
Get Some Sunlight
During warmer months, the sun is visible later. In the winter, the sky darkens sooner. When people are busy, they are indoors more, and they get less sunlight outdoors. One of the biggest triggers of winter blues is the limited amount of sunlight some people get. Even when living where there is more sun during the day, or throughout the year, they may not get enough for benefits. Therapeutic use of light, called phototherapy, can help with emotional disorders because it helps release serotonin. Darkness causes the brain to produce melatonin, which contributes to decreased drowsiness.
Watch Your Diet
Being strategic about what you eat is challenging, but necessary. In order to have good overall health, you need to focus on what you eat. Foods high in carbs can help with this, including fatty salmon, tuna, and trout. Increasing the omega-3s in fish are healthy, but also taking a supplement to support omega-3 consumption.
Whether you work out indoors or outside, it helps to get into nature. It also helps to exercise any way you can. People who feel lethargic, depressed, or anxious, often benefit from some exercise. While aerobic exercise might yield some benefits, any physical activity has major benefits. Exercising in sunlight or under bright lights is effective in alleviating symptoms of seasonal affective disorder. Other benefits that help boost mood are physical activity and mindfulness or meditation. Finding motivation to get up and move can be hard, but if you get going at least 30 minutes a day, you can improve your mood and boost your ability to feel better overall.
When seeking help for addictive behavior, it is challenging because not only are you fighting against your body and mind, you are also fighting against the outside environment to find some ways to exercise and keep yourself feeling upbeat and positive through it all. It is hard to find hope in the midst of struggle, but it is necessary if you are going to avoid relapse and stay clear of so many triggers and cravings. It is hard to fight the winter blues, but it is possible with the right tools and support at your fingertips.
A Step in the Right Direction provides quality sober living for clients seeking support for addiction recovery. We teach people how to live a sober life through community building, accountability, and healthy living. Our sober living program is staffed by people who understand the power of addiction. For more information about sober living programs for men and women as well as recovery programs, call (818) 921-7132.