The weather is colder and the days are shorter. Many of us struggle with the winter blues, also called seasonal affective disorder. Winter blues are to be expected with all the cold and dreary weather, but that doesn’t mean we are powerless to manage our winter blues or do the things that will cheer us up and help us not only get through the winter months but enjoy them, too. The winter blues can make us feel lethargic, heavy, distracted, and unmotivated, but with a few self-care practices, you can help manage the winter blues.
One of the best ways to get rid of that sluggish feeling is to exercise. According to numerous medical studies, exercising is proven to lift spirits and improve mood, even in the depths of winter. With so many different kinds of exercise classes available to stream online, it’s easier than ever to slip on your favorite pair of women’s sweatpants and log on to your favorite class. If exercise is new for you, then start slow and build up to an exercise routine that feels good for you. Take a slow flow yoga class or a high-intensity boot camp class. Either way, getting your blood flowing and oxygen moving is going to help lift your spirits and keep you feeling and looking great.
Connecting with our friends and loved ones is a wonderful way to lift spirits and share some laughs. Laughter is the best medicine, after all. Go for a walk with a friend, call your siblings, or go for coffee with the girls. Sometimes just talking to a friend is all we need to beat the blues. In our new socially distant world, it’s easy to include friends and family for dinners, coffee, cocktails, or just for a hangout. Being surrounded by love and support is a wonderful way to make it through the winter blues.
Getting cozy by the fire could be all you need for beating the cold-weather blues. The warmth, the light, and the comforting, crackling sound set a mood that helps to relax the body and calm the mind. Put on your favorite flannel pajamas and snuggle up by the fire to warm the body and soul. Bring a book or a cup of tea or hot cocoa as you relax by the fire. If you don’t have a fireplace, you can easily get a faux fireplace online that emits radiant heat and doesn’t make smoke or require wood for a similar effect. Radiant heat mimics the sun’s rays, so the warmth you feel will be akin to feeling the summer sun on your body.
While winter and cold weather easily drive us to comfort foods and eating more, it’s important to remember to eat well through the colder months. Foods like hot soups are going to help you beat the cold-weather blues while also offering your body and mind the nourishment and nutrients it needs to stay healthy and happy all winter long. Diet also affects mental well-being, so be sure you are eating a healthy menu throughout the cold months.
Make a point of getting outside this winter. Even though the air is colder, it’s important to breathe some fresh air and get a little sunshine. Bundle up well for those super cold days in your warm winter coat and make a commitment to spend a certain number of hours outside a week. Getting fresh air increases your energy, improves sleep, and reduces stress and bluesy feelings. Sunshine is another important factor during the winter months, as the Vitamin D that sunlight offers us is an important component of a healthy immune system. Not only will sunshine boost your immunity, but it will also raise your mood and spirits.
While it’s easy to sink in the abyss of winter and just wait it out, why not take the opportunity to do something that you’ve really been wanting to do. Check something off your bucket list this winter to help you feel accomplished, productive, and happy. Take up a craft, learn a new language, climb that mountain, bake that French soufflé, or get creative and make your own holiday gifts. Setting aside time to do something that is meaningful to you is going to feel awesome.
Sometimes the winter blues can get us down, so don’t hesitate to try one of these ideas to help you beat those cold-weather blues and turn the winter season into an enjoyable time. And if you are feeling like you are especially struggling, don’t be hesitant to seek help and support from a trusted loved one or a professional. On those particularly cold days, don’t forget one important thing: spring is just around the corner.