The winter season can be a little depressing for anyone due to the prospect of many cold and dark days ahead.
For those who are in recovery from addiction, this time can be extra difficult because the temptations are harder to stay away from. There can be a strong urge to self-medicate to get through difficult winter days when boredom strikes. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of mood disorder that includes symptoms of depression during the winter months. The winter blues in recovery can very much affect your progress so far, but there are ways to combat these negative symptoms. Banyan Treatment Center provides customized addiction treatment in Philadelphia and we explain how those in recovery can get through the winter season.
Who Can Be at Risk for Seasonal Affective Disorder?
If you are newly sober, you understand the difficulties of transitioning back into everyday life. There are so many life changes that you will be experiencing and, surprisingly, the weather can play a role in your recovery journey. During the winter, the decrease in sunlight can increase depression symptoms and feelings of isolation. Those who are at risk of SAD are individuals who live in a northern climate as well as those who have experienced mental health struggles or even addiction struggles in the past. The cold weather can lead people to stay inside more and become less active. This results in boredom, which is a major relapse trigger. If the winter blues are inevitable, you may be wondering what you can do about it.
Combating the Winter Blues in Recovery
It’s important to realize that these intense feelings of loneliness or depression are temporary and that they will not last. Identifying that you may be experiencing seasonal affective disorder is the first step in overcoming these strong feelings. You can combat your negative thoughts before they lead to an unfortunate relapse. We suggest that you put a plan in place for staying busy and active during the winter. Creating a routine can motivate you to attend meetings and consistently remain involved in an activity. You should get outdoors as much as possible to take advantage of as much sunlight available as possible. Attending a yoga class or even taking a few minutes to meditate can really help you transition a negative thought pattern into a more encouraging one that could even help you relax.