A week after Daylight Savings Time ended I’m still feeling lethargic.
Here’s some advice for anyone who’s feeling the same.
(For international readers who are confused, in New Zealand we just entered fall and turned our clocks back last week so all of a sudden its dark at 6pm when only a few weeks ago it was staying light until 8pm).
Tips for Dealing with Winter Lethargy
1. Spend time outside during the times of day the sun is at its brightest.
For example, go for a walk at your morning tea break or a run at lunch time, or at least sit outdoors in a sunny spot.
You’re likely to find that the mood/energy benefits of getting some bright sunlight last far longer than the few minutes you spend outdoors.
2. De-clutter or tackle other tasks you’ve been putting off.
Avoidance will drag down your mood.
Instead, find activities that give you a sense of mastery that will lift your mood/energy.
You’re likely to be spending more time inside at home over winter so its especially important you can find calmness, serenity, and inspiration at home. Get rid of anything you no longer need. “Junk” can be an emotional dead weight.
Break large tasks into component tasks that are small enough that you’re 100% sure you can complete them.
3. Pay attention to the moments you feel more energized.
Get to know what behaviours and activities work for you in increasing your energy.
4. Brainstorm ideas for activities. Then make plans.
Try to do at least one thing a day that you look forward to.
Or, what could you do from your bucket list (e.g. You’ve always wanted to try skydiving)?
Do activities that give you a sense that you are moving forward on your life path despite it being winter.
5. Make good choices about food
Try not to fall into the trap of overeating or eating food that doesn’t sustain you because you’re feeling lethargic or bored. Its unlikely to help your mood if you start gaining weight.
Now would be a really great time to start Couch to 5K (Explanation of Couch to 5K starts at mid section of article).
Like getting some sunlight, exercising will attack your winter sluggishness on a biological level.
Exercise has significant mood enhancing benefits.
7. If you think you might have Seasonal Depression (that is, Seasonal Affective Disorder)
see your GP about treatment options (for example, a light box).
In addition consider self monitoring your mood.