If you want to manage stress and protect your mental health, you need to understand what triggers it. There are some obvious triggers, like work or family pressures, but there are some other triggers that are less obvious. Many people find that they are more stressed during the winter when the weather is bad. In fact, seasonal affective disorder is a recognized condition and many people experience feelings of depression or increased stress and anxiety during the winter. Understanding exactly why that is can help you beat stress during the winter and manage your mental health. So, why does cold weather increase stress?
Lack Of Sunlight
The days are much shorter in the winter and if you head to work early in the dark and leave after sunset, you don’t get much sunlight exposure at all. This is a big problem because exposure to sunlight provides vitamin D and it helps your body produce more serotonin.
So, you are far more likely to experience low feelings and stress, and anxiety when you are deprived of sunlight. If you have a vitamin D deficiency, you may also experience a lot of fatigue, which makes things worse. In the winter, it’s a good idea to take vitamin D supplements and try to get outside as much as possible. Even if it’s cold, getting out for a walk is brilliant for stress relief.
Dangers Caused By Cold Weather
If you are a person that is prone to stress and anxiety about things, the dangers posed by cold weather can make stress worse. For example, you may worry about driving in ice and snow, so you’ll feel more stressed about going out and going to work.
Even anxieties about slipping over in the ice can stop people from getting out and about. It’s important that you take simple measures to make things safer, like putting down icing salt (how much does icing salt cost) and attaching spikes to your shoes. However, you also need to use stress relief techniques like meditation to manage these anxieties too.
Fewer Opportunities For Socializing
Meeting up with friends and socializing has a big positive impact on your mental health. People feel a lot less stressed after they have spent time with friends and family, but there are fewer opportunities to do that during the winter.
Meeting people outside isn’t an option and when the weather is horrible, people tend to hide away in their homes. This means that you spend less time socializing and blowing off steam, and this leads to higher stress levels.
In the winter, avoid the temptation to isolate yourself and make an effort to see people as much as possible. Even if you cannot get out and meet people in person, pick up the phone and chat with friends and family. Staying connected with the people close to you makes such a big difference and it will help you manage your stress levels.
The cold weather can lead to much higher stress levels, so it’s important that you are aware of it and you take steps to combat it.