As the days get shorter and winter rolls in, many of us find ourselves grappling with SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder. A type of mild depression that affects energy level and mood, SAD is triggered by:
Altered circadian rhythm that becomes at odds with busy modern lifestyles
Lack of vitamin D resulting from shorter days and less time spent outside in the sun
Overproduction of melatonin, the hormone our brains produce in response to darkness
Low serotonin levels
Fortunately, nature connection provides a powerful remedy to the winter blues. Here are my five easy ways to beat the SADs by connecting to Nature this winter:
1. Salute The Sun
Start your day with a burst of natural light by practicing morning sun salutations. Step outside or in front of a sunny window and soak in the early sunlight, which is a natural mood enhancer. Engaging in morning sun gazing, gentle yoga, or stretching exercises outdoors not only promotes physical well-being but also helps reset your circadian rhythm, contributing to improved energy and sleep quality.
2. Go walking in a winter wonderland
Resist the temptation to let winter keep you indoors. Bundle up in layers and head outside for a walk in the forest, a nearby park, or a conservation area. Some conservation areas and outdoor centres even rent out snowshoes as a fun way to hit the trails in winter. The crisp winter air, muffled silence of a snow covered landscape, and tranquility of nature will have a rejuvenating effect on your mind, body, and soul. You'll want to aim for at least 20-30 minutes to receive maximum mood boosting benefits.
3. Play in the snow
When's the last time you caught a snowflake on your tongue, made a snowperson, or snow angel? Engaging in play this winter not only gets you outside and connecting to nature, it also can trigger the release of endorphins, the body's natural feel-good chemicals. These promote an overall sense of wellbeing and can temporarily relieve pain, boost modd, and improve brain function.
4. Bring Nature to work
Rearrange your workspace to capture the essence of nature. If possible, position your desk near a window to allow natural light exposure. Place a potted plant (go with a cactus or succulent for low maintenace options) on your desk, because even a potted plant is a little piece of living nature indoors. Decorate with natural elements like rocks, shells, or images of serene landscapes. Creating a nature-inspired environment can enhance your focus, productivity, and overall well-being during the winter months.
5. Find stillness with a sitspot
Take a few moments each day (ideally 20 minutes minimum, so bundle up) to practice mindfulness in a natural setting. Find a quiet spot outdoors, whether it's in your backyard or a local park, and engage in mindful breathing exercises or meditation. Connecting with Nature in a mindful way can help reduce stress, improve concentration, and foster a sense of inner peace.
6. Connect with a guide!
I help people connect with and embrace the healing energies of nature all year round. From one-on-one walks to group sessions, there are so many wonder-full invitations waiting for us in Nature this winter, so contact me today and let's explore the deep healing power of Nature together.
Beat the SADs by connecting to Nature this winter
Remember, the key to beating Seasonal Affective Disorder lies in embracing the beauty of winter and finding ways to connect with Nature even when the mercury drops. Whether you're basking in the winter sun, relishing the beauty of a gentle snowfall, taking a leisurely stroll, or creating a green haven indoors, these simple practices will make a significant difference in uplifting your spirits during the colder months.
What are your favourite way sto enjoy the winter months? What challenges do you face in connecting with Nature through winter? Let me know in the comments below.
Wishing you health, abundance, and joy this winter season, and I'll see you in the forest!