Anxiety doesn't discriminate by season, but it does seem to rear its head a little more in the winter months. Between shorter daylight hours ruining your sleep patterns to winter weather conditions ruining your plans, your mental health can become a little more fragile. That's okay. Millions of people experience increased anxiety in the winter months. Here's why, and what you can do about it!
Why Does My Anxiety Get Worse in the Winter?
Knowledge is power, and understanding why you feel anxious during the winter is the key to finding that mental balance. Here are a few reasons why people experience the winter blues.
Lack of Sunlight
Approximately 5% of Americans experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) every year, with symptoms of SAD lasting up to 40% of the year. One of the most common symptoms people with SAD experience is anxiety.
That's because the days feel shorter and the nights feel longer. During the winter, we experience less sun exposure. That lack of sunlight means we are missing out on a critical nutrient - Vitamin D.
The sun is our primary source of Vitamin D, which is essential for so many important cellular functions, including the synthesis of serotonin, our joy molecule. Low serotonin levels are often associated with anxiety and depression.
Increase your Vitamin D exposure by going outside for short breaks. If it's too cold outside, consider investing in a light therapy box.
You can also improve Vitamin D levels with the daily support of Newport Natural Health's LifeMax Multivitamin. This all-natural supplement contains Vitamin D to help offset the shorter winter daylight hours. It's also enhanced with B-vitamins that support healthy brain communication. Plus, a broad spectrum of antioxidants rounds out the formula, preventing inflammation from destroying healthy brain cells.
Poor Sleep Patterns
A lack of sunlight doesn't just mess up your Vitamin D levels, it impacts your sleep cycle. Light dictates our circadian rhythm, which is responsible for producing the hormones that keep us awake, and those that make us sleepy. The longer nights make us lethargic, but not necessarily tired. If anything, we're a bit agitated that we have such little energy so early in the day.
Anxiety promotes fight-or-flight hormones like cortisol. These hormones upset our melatonin and serotonin levels, which impact our mood and sleep.
The best way to break this cycle is to get some sleep. Relax at night with some Our Healing Tea. Stop using smart devices two hours before bed to prevent light from tricking your circadian rhythm. Then, promote a good night's rest with Tranquility Labs' Sleep Fast Enhanced Melatonin Spray.
Driving in itself is enough to trigger an anxious person. Adding bad weather into the mix can only exasperate things. Plan for the season accordingly by getting your car checked out. Change out your fluids and upgrade to winter tires.
Always allow extra time for travel to avoid winter driving anxiety. Schedule into your routine so that you don't rush around to make your appointments. You don't want to risk sliding on black ice and getting into a car accident.
Also, take into account the time it takes to prep your car. Factor in chiseling at the windshield with your ice scraper and running your heater for a few minutes before taking off. Don't fall victim to increased anxiety in weather conditions. A little planning can promote a lot of peace of mind.
Snowstorms can pop up when you're commuting to work or on your way back from running errands. Being caught off-guard by snow and ice could easily cause an uptick in anxious tendencies.
Driving in winter weather can be dangerous for your mental health and might cause a car accident. Seek shelter off the road until you feel comfortable driving again.
The season with the second-highest anxiety rate is in the summer. Where temperatures reach the 100s, the heat and humidity can become unbearable. People head indoors to air conditioning for the season and end up getting stir-crazy. That's summer anxiety.
Winter is summer anxiety's ugly stepsister. More people will experience bitter cold weather in the winter compared to those who experience the oppressively hot days of summer. Plus, there's no ocean or pools to go warm up in. So, we're left indoors for the season.
This type of isolation can cause loneliness. That's why many people with SAD experience low serotonin levels. Get the support your body needs to make serotonin, including tryptophan, niacinamide, and Vitamin D, with Tranquility Labs' Tranquilene Total Calm.
This all-natural supplement enhances your serotonin levels, as well as your GABA. GABA is your body's calming hormone, which can help with racing thoughts and restlessness that are often associated with anxious behaviors.
- Vitamin D is crucial for mental health in the winter
- Improving your sleep patterns can improve your anxiety symptoms
- Getting outside and interacting with others will break up the long winter days