Feeling blue during Portland Oregon winters isn't unusual, especially if you are in recovery or undergoing addiction treatment.

Wintertime blues are nothing new. 

It’s usually that time before spring’s first bulbs but after the holidays that hits people the hardest. 

Dark days, bad weather and chilly temperatures tend to get the best of us down.

But when you’re in recovery, it’s so important to do everything you can to practice self-care, stay on top of your program and prevent relapse. If you know you get bummed out by wintertime, or you’re noticing that the weather is taking a toll for the first time, that’s a warning you need to heed. 

Part of listening to that warning means guarding against seasonal depression—also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder. Whatever you do, don’t let the weather keep you from community support, friends and family. 

Today we will look at our top 3 tips for staying sober and avoiding the “rainy day blues” during Oregon winters. 

Note: As always, speak with your doctor (or make an appointment to speak with one of ours!) if low moods are interfering with your work or home life. The following tips are only for fleeting feelings of sadness or low energy and not a substitute for medical care. If you’re having thoughts of suicide, call 800-273-8255 for immediate, 24/7 help.

And now, on to the tips!

Sober and Sad Winter Tip #1: Move Your Body

In order to feel your best during the winter, it's important to remember to exercise regularly - especially if you are in recovery.

If you don’t have an exercise routine dialed in, now is the time to start. 

Resist the urge to hibernate during the winter, especially if you find that the weather is causing symptoms of depression and/or anxiety. 

If you’re currently sedentary, start with a short walk, slowly adding speed and distance as you build stamina. 

The exercise will release endorphins and other feel-good chemicals into your body, which could be just the push you need to level out your mood.

Sober and Sad Winter Tip #2: Have Your Doctor Check Your Vitamin D Levels 

Vitamin D levels can severely effect your mood. If you are in recovery and feeling sad during the wintertime in Portland, consider having your vitamin D levels checked.

Our bodies absorb vitamin D from the sun. 

When we don’t get enough “face-time” with our local star, our bodies – and mental health – suffer. 

Ask your doctor to check your vitamin D levels if you find you consistently feel poorly during the winter months. Vitamin D supplements can be a powerful starting point for easing seasonal melancholy. 

Sober and Sad Winter Tip #3: Consider Light Therapy for Seasonally Low Moods 

Sometimes during the winter it's impossible to get any sun - especially in Portland. If you're in recovery and finding the lack of sunshine is effecting your mental health, consider trying light therapy.

Light therapy is a great option for those who notice that a lack of sunlight affects their mental health negatively. 

There are many light therapy lamps available on the market that simulate sunlight and deliver some of the same benefits as sunbathing. Be careful to follow the directions closely when using sunlight simulating lamps to minimize potential overexposure risks. 

We’re Here to Help 

At Shanti Recovery and Wellness, we’ve helped hundreds of patients in Portland, Oregon succeed in recovery, even during our soggy winters. 

Our clinicians tailor every patient’s addiction treatment program to their specific needs. We help you to cultivate a healthy lifestyle that works for you – including diet, exercise, community support, medication, counseling and addressing any co-occurring disorders that may be contributing to your Substance Use Disorder. 

Give us a call today at (503) 206-8850 and learn how we can help you take back control of your life.