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seasonal depression tips wellness
Wellness
Published Monday Dec 02, 2019 by Erica Arvanitis

More Than Just Winter Blues: 5 Ways to Ease Seasonal Affective Disorder

Fitness
Personal Growth

When the clocks go back, we can almost smell the sense of disappointment in the air. The days are shorter and colder, and less sunlight can really have an impact on our mood. For some, wintertime can bring on a form of depression called seasonal affective disorder. 

 

What is seasonal affective disorder? 

Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a form of depression influenced by the changing of seasons. It normally sets in after Labor Day, and symptoms become more intense by January or February. The lack of sunlight can cause decreased concentration, increased appetite, moodiness, social withdrawal, and fatigue. 

While some might brush it off as being extra moody, or just “winter blues,” it’s much more than that. SAD is a real form of depression that can be dependent on hormone levels, temperature, and exposure to natural light, which directly influences the body’s production of melatonin

Studies show that SAD is more prevalent in areas that have longer, colder winters. So, if you’re feeling sensitive to all the snow or down in the dumps this season, here are a few ways to battle seasonal affective disorder.

 

Reach out to a therapist. 

SAD is a form of depression, so it’s best to get it diagnosed by a mental health professional. Doctors usually suggest a combination of light therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, which is a form of talk therapy, to deal with SAD. Talk therapy can help to shift your mindset and gives you the tools to manage stress and mood changes. 


Try a light therapy box. 

The go-to treatment for SAD, light therapy is a tried-and-true option for easing seasonal depression. Mimicking outdoor light, a light therapy box is thought to affect brain chemicals linked to mood and sleep. The best time to use the light therapy box is the first hour of waking up, so try it out with your morning cup of coffee. Before ordering anything on Amazon, talk to your doctor about the best treatment. Once you get the go-ahead, you can find plenty of affordable devices online


Work up a sweat. 

Incorporating exercise into your daily routine can help to manage seasonal affective disorder, especially if it’s outside. If it’s snowy and freezing, maybe try out a cycling class (and pick a bike closest to the window!)


Make plans (and stick to them). 

People with SAD tend to have trouble sleeping at night and getting up each morning. Sticking to a regular schedule helps to expose you to consistent light and keeps you motivated to get out and do the things you love. Making a conscious effort to make plans (and stick to them) can improve your mood. If you really want to hold yourself accountable, make plans to go to a yoga class with a friend. 


Add some essential oils. 

There is healing power in aromatherapy. Essential oils like bergamot, cardamom, jasmine, and orange can help to usher in brightness, heighten the senses, and balance emotions. Need tips on what to put in your diffuser? Here’s a helpful blend from Aromatics during these winter months when SAD takes its toll. 
 

Erica Arvanitis MINDBODY
Written by
Erica Arvanitis
Copywriter
About the author
A copywriter by day, Erica spends her free time mastering the art of puzzles while forcing her 10-year-old Chow mix to wear sweaters. With experience in PR, social media, marketing, and copywriting, Erica lives and breathes the written word. Warning: don’t test her on Friends trivia - she will win every time.
what is wellness
Wellness
Published Wednesday Oct 06, 2021 by Denise Prichard

What is Wellness?

Expert Advice
Wellness

To say the last year and a half was tough would be an understatement. In fact, it will probably go down as one of the most difficult times for our modern generation. In one of the many social polls we conducted during the pandemic, some of you described this time as a sheer “dumpster fire” or “like stepping on a Lego.” And to be honest, I couldn’t agree more.

Luckily, we’ve been able to get back to some form of normalcy in our lives and wellness routines over the last several months. As vaccines became available to the public, wellness businesses welcomed fitness fanatics, haircut seekers, and massage lovers back to in-person wellness experiences. And thank goodness for that—my roots and horrible posture from working from my bed were both getting wildly out of control. This girl needed a good massage and cupping session stat.

If there’s one thing we learned from the pandemic, it’s that our wellness routines are as personal as they are important. During shelter-at-home, those routines looked a bit different. For many, it meant taking a new approach to the “typical” wellness services we count on—I’m looking at you DIY haircuts, at-home waxing sessions (ouch!), and virtual swerking classes.

Now that we can leave our humble abodes to take advantage of in-person experiences again, the word “wellness” has seemingly taken on a new meaning.

Recently, we conducted another one of our famous social polls to see what wellness means to you, our Mindbody community, now that we're slowly but surely getting back to our regularly scheduled programming. We also tapped some of our most influential Mindbody business owners about the ever-evolving wellness landscape.

Here’s what you all had to say.

Wellness is more important to you than ever

According to our annual Mindbody Wellness Index, 60% of Americans say they’re more focused on their health and wellness since COVID. Consumers are now realizing they need to take greater care of themselves to optimize and preserve their health. When we asked you on Instagram how important wellness is, a whopping 98% said it was more important than ever. When it comes to how you’re practicing wellness, though, the answers were all over the board. Many of you pointed to journaling, practicing breathwork, and daily workout routines (cycling and yoga topped the list) as being the activities that help you keep your chill throughout the week.

I’m also happy to report that over 50% said you tend to feel more blessed than stressed on a daily basis—which is more than likely a big improvement. Let’s be honest, a year ago I would’ve bet a billion dollars that 99.9% of us knew no other feeling than anxiety—am I right? But even with the stress in our lives dwindling, many of you are still experiencing burnout at the end of a long work week (guilty!). But instead of succumbing to a bottle of wine for relief (please, that was so 2020), you’re unwinding by going to your favorite workout classes—with hot yoga, barre, and Pilates as your faves.

What wellness means to the pros

Let’s be honest, we should credit the business owners in this space for helping us reignite our spark when it comes to our wellness routines, right? Thanks to them, we’ve been inspired to prioritize the activities that help us feel our best. In turn, we thought it’d be interesting to learn what wellness means to them—and how that definition has changed over the past eighteen months.

Here’s what they had to say.

“Wellness is living in balance—mind, body, spirit. Highs and lows. It all ebbs and flows and we can navigate it a bit better when we take time to move, breath and remember who we are, and how we are connected to this big, beautiful world.” - Jess Pierno, Founder, Owner, and Chief Inspiration Officer of Yoga Heights

“Wellness is a true balancing of the mental, physical, and spiritual. It has definitely evolved over the years for me—from something that I just thought was about exercising and eating a healthy diet—to also incorporating balancing and healing internally and spiritually.” - Stefanie Patterson, Owner, Indianapolis Salt Cave and Halotherapy Center

“My sense of wellness has evolved from staying healthy and motivated, mind/body/spirit... to being more gentle with myself, less demanding. Accepting my limitations, taking time for resting, and gaining real clarity about what's important. I care less about what people think of me—difficult as a performer and as a business owner with so many demands on me—and more about getting quiet and tapping into the divine source inside of me that helps me discern my next move. In this way, I know my motives are as pure as possible and I'm not getting distracted—not that I don't make mistakes! Those are necessary, that's how we learn!” - Johanna Krynytzky, Owner, Hip Expressions Belly Dance Studio

“My studio name reminds us that we are constantly evolving. The past 18 months have certainly shown us that! Wellness to me means doing your best on any given day to make sure that you are taking care of yourself as best you can. It leads to resilience. Diet, exercise, sleep, a sense of community, and some form of faith. It all matters. Setbacks happen all the time, and every day is a chance to start again. We strive to be 'cheerleaders' for our clients when we sense that things are coming out of balance in their lives. So many have been with us for 18 years and are friends—they are our community and we all watch out for each other.” - Mo Wolfe, Owner and Founder, Evolution Pilates

Putting wellness into action

I think we can all agree that there isn’t one true definition of wellness anymore. To some of us, it means getting that hot yoga sesh in daily, and to others, it means carving out time to treat ourselves to a massage or manicure. As long as you’re actively pursuing wellness—whatever that means to you—you're on the right track.

Our MO has always been about connecting the world to wellness—a term that's seen a lot of change lately. Whether you’re fully embracing the in-person experience or still delighted by the convenience of practicing at-home wellness, the Mindbody app makes it easy for you to book experiences that help you feel like YOU again.

denise prichard
Written by
Denise Prichard
Senior Marketing Content Specialist
About the author
Denise Prichard is a certified yoga instructor (RYT-200) and an experienced content marketing professional with a penchant for writing compelling copy within the health, wellness and beauty industries. When she isn't writing or editing, you can find her teaching yoga classes, at a spin class or hanging out with her rescue pups.