It's officially December, meaning here in Seattle we have less than 9 hours of daylight a day. 'Tis the season for SAD, and combating it while in the middle of your job search can be quite demoralizing. SAD affects an estimated 10 million Americans, and is four times as likely to affect women than it is men. I'm making a list of ways that I can stay away from the emotional slump and be proactive about staying positive during the dark, gloomy winter weather.
Setting yourself a workout goal for the winter months is, in my experience, the best way to keep yourself in a can-do positive mindset. Research has shown that even a 15-minute walk in the middle of the day is enough to increase crucial neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and norepinephrine, which help energize the brain and regulate circadian rhythms. Find a friend to go to the gym with and start a normal routine. Having someone there to motivate you to work harder as well as someone to fulfill a commitment to go to the gym with makes it easier for me to actually get out the door.
Balancing your dietary needs is just as important as being physically active, as anyone who indulges at the Thanksgiving table can tell you. Refined carbohydrates, such as pizza, can add to making you feel lethargic over the winter months. If you find yourself feeling down, try to increase the amount of complex carbs in your diet, such as spinach, lentils, and broccoli. Complex carbs take longer to digest, meaning you're not going to get a sudden spike in your blood sugar levels. Another item to include to your daily intake is vitamin D supplements to help with the lack of natural sunlight.
One final thing that us in the realm of coding could easily incorporate into our daily routines would be light therapy, as a good portion of us are already sitting behind a keyboard for hours on end. As blue light suppresses the hormones which make you fall asleep at night, a light box that is enriched in light towards the blue end of the spectrum would be most beneficial.
I'm already starting to see the effects of SAD rearing its ugly head in my day to day. When I'm not coding or actively seeking a job, I plan to start exercising more so that I can stay upbeat.