The cold, dreary winter can be really tough on people and their moods. With less sun, many people experience a decline in energy levels and positivity.
Use the following tips to help make this season a more positive one! Out of these 20 ideas to fight the winter blues, there will be something new for you to try.
Are the Winter Blues a Real Thing?
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is, unfortunately, very real. Millions of people are affected by it every year. Many people won't even know they have it and will just be extra unhappy this time of the year because their body isn't getting what they need to support them in what would otherwise be happy moments.
There are various levels to the winter blues, ranging from the winter blues to severe seasonal depression. It's not enjoyable no matter what stage you are at, and many things can be done to lighten your load. Scroll down to learn those ways!
Symptoms of Winter Blues
Here are a few of the most common symptoms associated with winter blues:
- weight gain
- social withdrawal
Why Does the Weather Affect Your Mood?
The changing of the seasons may make you feel less energetic. The cold weather can make it difficult to get out of bed in the morning and find enjoyable activities.
During winter, your body will produce less serotonin, the main neurotransmitter for happiness and emotions. This is one of the main causes of the winter blues.
Almost everything dies in the winter, leaving outside looking sad and lonely. This, along with the cold weather, usually makes winter unbearable for lots of people.
20 Tips on Fighting the Winter Blues
Seasonal affective disorder is a mental disorder and should be treated as such. Many self-care methods might help you through the winter season, though. Below are 20 ways you can help yourself ease your struggles during winter.
- Get Light Exposure
We get very little exposure to the light during the winter, which is one of the biggest reasons for the winter blues. Try to get outside as often as you can. If it is hard to get outside, or if you live in an area with very little sunlight, it might be worth it to invest in a light therapy lamp.
Do not stop taking your vitamins during the cold seasons! In fact, you should probably take even more than you already are. Of course, you know a Vitamin D supplement will help your body adjust to not getting this vitamin from the sun. Usually, people with winter blues find some relief just by doing this!
Omega-3's are also important as they keep your brain healthy and strong. When your brain is healthy, you typically will have better mental health as well.
Vitamin C is also an important vitamin to take during the wintertime because it helps boost your immune system. When you get sick, on top of feeling sad, it only makes things worse, so do your best to stay healthy!
With all the holidays during cold seasons, we typically do not eat healthy at all. This negatively impacts your mental health. I know it is almost impossible to avoid junk food altogether, but try to limit yourself as much as you can. Little steps will help your sadness.
On the days you don't feel as bad, focus on eating those healthy foods. That way, your body will naturally want healthy food during the hard days. Make sure to get enough protein, as this will also help boost your energy levels!
Exercise is a great way to keep your energy levels high and continue to look on the bright side during the winter months. While many people think they are more tired after working out, studies show that you are actually more energized. Exercise can improve moods by releasing endorphins and hormones that help keep us happy.
It's normal to go to therapy, so there's no reason to feel ashamed. If anything, therapy might help you during the colder months.
Therapists are available now more than ever with different forms of technology at your disposal.
Go to a session in person if possible. If you aren't there yet, that's okay! You can easily chat with one online too. Use as many resources as possible to help during these hard months. Even if it is just reading an article (like this one), that will help.
- Bright Colors
Bright colors, like yellows, are a great way to lift your mood when you're feeling sad. If you don't want to paint your house, decorate it with pictures of bright and vibrant colors. You can also wear clothes in bright colors as often as possible.
- Get Indoor Plants
If all the dead plants outside bother you, try getting some indoor plants, which will dramatically help with that! Try some succulents if it seems too challenging to keep alive and care for daily. They do not require much at all!
- Stay Close to Family
Face-to-face contact with your loved ones is always best, but try to keep in touch with them by voice or video chats if not possible. Meeting with your friends and family will help improve your mood.
Your family is there to support you. They know you the best, so they should be one of the first people you talk to if your symptoms worsen. And if they do, they'll help you find the best course of treatment for you.
- Positive Affirmations
Positive affirmations can dramatically help lift your spirits and improve your mood during the winter months. There are so many other great benefits of saying affirmations or mantras every day too! Some other benefits include a boost in self-esteem and confidence, a more optimistic view on life, rewriting your thinking, and so much more.
Here are a few of my favorite winter affirmations:
- This will not last forever
- I am not alone
- I can and will get through this hard time
- My needs are important
- I am allowed to rest and recharge
- I am loved
- I will find joy in today
- My feelings are valid
Make some of your own affirmation cards and hang them around your house. You can also buy many card decks online if you don't feel like making your own. Repeat them every time you see them to get through the winter.
- Keep Warm
Research has shown that when we're too cold, our productivity decreases. This leads to unhappiness – and in some cases, depression. So try turning up the thermostat or bundling up in an extra layer to stay warm, happy, and healthier!
- Drink More Water
Water is so beneficial to both your health and your happiness. Try drinking more water to help you have more energy, especially when you're feeling a bit sluggish or have a headache. It's difficult to function properly when you are dehydrated, and the winter blues may worsen if you don't take care of yourself.
- Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is crucial for your mental health. Get at least eight hours of sleep every single day, and you will be healthier and happier during the winter.
It's critically important to be aware of how much sleep you are getting during the wintertime. It's easy to become more lethargic but make sure not to do too much sleeping; be careful not to take too many naps. Try and find that healthy balance!
- Have a Good Morning Routine
Your whole day will be more productive when you have a good morning routine. Rather than checking your phone as soon as you wake up, consider the following:
- Practice gratitude
- Write in your journal
- Take a shower and get ready for the day
- Meditate for a few minutes
Following these simple tasks will provide you with more energy and happiness and encourage productivity.
- New Hobby
Get a new hobby! Learn to take better photos, sew a dress, or do some cooking. You might find that you have a new exciting passion and allows you to feel motivated even when things get tough.
- Change Your Clothes Daily
I know it may seem silly, but staying in your pajamas is not a great idea if you are depressed. It will leave you feeling more tired and less likely to do anything at all during the day.
Changing your clothes each day not only helps your days not blend into one another but will also lift your spirits. It just makes you a little happier when you get ready for the day.
Giving back to the community is important for your personal growth, but keeping your mind healthy is also important. Make sure that you set aside some time every week for yourself and make time for volunteering or serving others. When you find balance, you'll feel better mentally.
It does not hurt to go on a vacation. Usually, people who get the winter blues feel a little better at the start of spring, so try to take a trip in January! You don't have to escape all responsibility and fly off to Hawaii, but you certainly can if you want! Just take a short break from your life and just relax.
- Listen to Music
Listening to music daily is one of the best ways to improve your mental health! Christmas music is perfect for this time of year because it's upbeat and happy. Find songs that resonate with you; they will help you move around, dance, and bring a smile to your face.
- Keep Busy
Instead of only staying at home, go out and try to stay as busy as possible. You can do this by shopping for your gifts, exercising, meeting up with your friends, or going on a nature walk. Something that will keep you active and focused during the holidays.
It can be hard to find time to do anything for ourselves between work and everyday life, but it is crucial. It is sometimes difficult to keep ourselves motivated when we start feeling sad. So please try and take care of yourself when you need some self-love – you deserve it! Practice plenty of self-care during the cold months.
- Stay Healthy
There is a great correlation between physical and mental health. So, in order to increase your general wellbeing, you will want to stay in shape by having a balanced diet, staying active, and looking after your mental wellbeing with things like meditation or yoga.
These tips will hopefully help you fight the winter blues this holiday season. If you're feeling anything less than perfect, don't hesitate to reach out to your doctor and therapist. You deserve to be taken care of!