The official first day of spring is in just a few days. Even though we still have snow here in Canada, I have been working on making my apartment feel bright and fresh for the coming spring season. So, today, I am excited to participate in a YouTube challenge for Spring DIY and Decor. For this challenge, I am sharing my spring apartment tour.
Many of my decorations are DIY projects. If you’d like to see more about how to make these decorations, let me know in the comments below.
It might only be the middle of February, but I am starting to feel the call of spring. Here in Canada we are currently having a mild spell; the temperatures have risen, and instead of snowing, there is a gentle rain. So, I got out my current spring decor to determine what changes I wanted to make and what other items I would like to create. I have learned that whenever I am crafting things, it is important to start early. Too often I have been trying to finish seasonal projects when that season is almost over. One of the projects I decided to make is a spring floral arrangement.
Recently, I was invited on YouTube to participate in a spring floral challenge. This challenge takes place on Monday, February 19. Make sure to look for the video then. In the meantime, I thought I would give you a quick peak at what I made.
I really enjoyed the challenge and will post a link to this YouTube tutorial on Monday.
Do you have problems with sleeping too much, eating too much, and losing interest in your favourite activities during the winter? You may be suffering with Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.). For the last two weeks, I have been posting tips I have found to be useful in helping to beat this disorder. If you didn’t read Part One and Part Two, be sure to read them now. Today’s post is my final one in this series, and I am sharing my last three tips with you.
When the outdoors is a blustery, white world, creating a green, garden-like setting indoors can be extremely soothing. This is why growing indoor plants can help alleviate the symptoms of S.A.D. Whether you choose to grow herbs, flowers, or “house plants,” all plants help to produce oxygen which is vital during a season when the windows and doors are closed and the heat is turned up. Tending plants also provides a type of therapy.
Pets are also another great way to beat S.A.D. They provide great company (I admit I used to talk to my dog all the time!). Knowing you have a pet to care for gives you a reason to get out of bed in the morning. A dog gives you a reason to get outside and get active as does chickens, horses, or other outside animals. Nurturing a living thing can be comforting and calming.
In a season when we are tempted to stay home instead of venturing out in the cold, we might begin to lose connection with friends and family. Communication and social involvement with others needs to be a priority during the winter for those who struggle with S.A.D. Sharing your feelings, laughing, and even crying with someone else, is a vital part of maintaining good mental health. “No man is an island” is most certainly true during the winter.
Hobbies such as knitting, wood-carving, painting, quilting, and welding, provide wonderful creative outlets. Making something beautiful and/or useful from simple supplies, gives the feeling of accomplishment. It also creates a connection between the mind and hands. Keeping your hands busy can help keep your mind busy in a positive, useful direction. Creating things also allows for an outlet of our emotions. Something as simple as drawing a picture of how you feel can be a great form of therapy.
I have found these tips to be extremely helpful in my own life, and I hope you have found them inspiring in your own struggle with S.A.D. As always, I want to encourage you to consult a doctor if your symptoms are debilitating or you have frequent thoughts of death or suicide.
Do you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.)? Last week, I started a series on five tips to beat S.A.D. In that post, I talked about getting outside its benefits. If you haven’t read it yet be sure to check it out. Tips for Beating S.A.D. – Part One
In Part Two, I am sharing my second tip for beating S.A.D.
So here is my second point:
Get Your Nutrients
As with our physical health, eating nutrient rich food can be a great benefit to our mental health. Studies have proven that a deficiency of certain vitamins can give symptoms of depression. First let me clarify that I am not a health professional. You should always talk to your doctor before taking an new vitamins. I am sharing information that I have found, actually tried, and found helpful. Here are the vitamins that I take on a daily basis:
Vitamin D is very different from other vitamins in the sense that it naturally doesn’t come from outside sources. This is the only vitamin that is actually produced by our body (similar to a hormone). However, our body typically produces this vitamin when it comes in contact with UVB rays from the sun. This can be very difficult to achieve during the winter. Symptoms of deficiency of vitamin D include tiredness and depression. This article from Psychology Today provides interesting facts about the link between vitamin D and depression: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/reading-between-the-headlines/201307/vitamin-d-deficiency-and-depression
If you are unable to get sunlight you may benefit from light therapy which I discussed in Part One of this series last week. Some milk products are also fortified with vitamin D. Many people, including myself, find it beneficial to also take a supplement.
Tiredness and lethargy are some of the most common symptoms of a vitamin B-12 deficiency. If you suffer from S.A.D., the symptoms may be even more prevalent since many S.A.D. sufferers already feel lethargic. The lack of vitamin B-12 has also been associated with low cognitive function and the ability to carry out simple tasks. https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-vitamin-b12/art-20363663
Do you feel hopeless, lethargic, and agitated? Are you eating and sleeping a lot more than usual? All of these are symptoms of depression, but if you only have these symptoms during the winter or these symptoms intensify during the winter, you may be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.). The Mayo Clinic defines it this way:
While I have never been formally diagnosed with this, I have sought advice and assistance in this area from my family doctor. If you are struggling with symptoms of depression, I encourage you to seek professional help. You may need medication and specialized therapy. This article is not intended to replace that, but simply to share tips on how I have learned to cope.
This is Part One of a series of articles on my top five tips to beating S.A.D. So here is my first tip:
When it is cold and snowy outdoors it can be tempting to stay inside where it is warm and cozy. Getting dressed in the required outerwear can seem like a chore, and much of that outerwear can feel cumbersome and restricting. However, getting outside is a crucial part of dealing with S.A.D. Here are three reasons why:
You get active
Let’s be honest, you are not likely to go outside in the cold to just sit and relax! Staying warm requires some kind of movement, and movement is an important part of good health. It has many benefits from combating diseases to increasing energy levels. This is a great opportunity to try some winter sports activities. The list of winter sports is endless, but here are just a few I have found enjoyable: cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, and hiking. Even something as simple as taking a scenic walk or building a snowman can be enjoyable and provide exercise at the same time.
You get fresh air
Step outside and take a deep breath of fresh air. What do you feel? Doing this always seems to clear my mind. Perhaps because it increases my oxygen levels which is an important part of maintaining overall good health and especially important for the brain. Oxygen is vital to the brain. According to National Association for Child Development, “Brain cells are very sensitive to decreases in oxygen levels and don’t survive or function well very long without it.” http://www.nacd.org/my-brain-needs-oxygen-what-can-i-do/ Our oxygen levels are so important, they are considered vital signs by the medical field. No wonder we feel sluggish during the winter when we are all inside with the windows closed and the heat turned up!
You get sunlight
One of the main causes of S.A.D. is a shortage of vitamin D which humans produce when exposed to sunlight. For those of us who live in the north, the nights can seem never ending and the time frame for getting sunlight is much shorter. It can be dark when we leave home in the morning and dark when we return. It might take a little planning, but setting aside a half hour each day to be exposed to sunlight is an important step in fighting S.A.D. If it is almost impossible to find this time or on stormy days when the sun is not shining, light therapy can be used instead. I purchased a light box several years ago and have found it to be extremely helpful. More information visit the Mayo Clinic website here: https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/light-therapy/about/pac-20384604
One of my favourite reasons for going outside in the winter is the happy feeling I have when returning indoors. If I am feeling restless and “housebound,” I go outside even for a short walk. After feeling the bitter cold on my face, I can’t wait to get back indoors! Back inside, I am ready to get cozy and settle in. This is true even in the dark when I can often be found pacing back and forth on my balcony!
Now, put down your phone or close out your browser, put on some warm clothing, and head outside. Be sure to share your tips in the comments and look for part two next Saturday.