Beating the “Winter Blues”

How to Beat the _Winter Blues_

It’s February and in many places, that means it’s winter. Winter, for many, is a very dark and dreary time. There is a lack of sunlight and the weather is usually a deterrent for leaving the house. This can lead to something called Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is more commonly known as the “winter blues”. Even if you don’t have Seasonal Affective Disorder, it is possibly that you may feel a little more “down in the dumps” during this time. Well, I am here to tell you that you are not alone and that I have some tricks to help get through the rough winter. Don’t worry, the groundhog said an early spring is in our future!

1. Don’t Let the Weather Keep You Home

When the weather is bad, it is easy to retreat and stay home. You are not Elsa and the cold does bother you. However, sometimes this can cause you to feel isolated and alone. Don’t let the cold completely deter you. There are so many indoor activities that you can do to keep yourself entertained. Meet up with friends for dinner or a movie. If you are looking for a cheaper option, you can window shop around a mall or get a group together to have a movie night at home.

If you can’t go out because of snow or dangerous weather, reach out to a friend to Skype or Facetime (or, if you feel like being old fashioned, just talk on the phone). Hearing someones voice/seeing their face can be a replacement for physical contact in a pinch!

2. Don’t Let Your Fitness Go

It is so easy to let bad weather sideline a fitness routine. A snowstorm or extreme cold temperatures can keep you from getting to the gym and once you miss a few days, it is tough to get “back on the wagon”. However, thank goodness for technology! There are countless YouTube videos that have easy workouts that you can follow along. You can find workouts ranging from Yoga to Zumba to typical interval training. So why is this important to beat the winter blues? Exercise is an easy way to increase endorphin production and boost your mood! When all else fails, put on your favorite music and have a dance party! Just stay active.

3. Eat Right

Comfort foods are a go to when temperatures start to drop. Nothing is better than something warm and often fattening. However, eating poorly will make you feel even worse. The cold weather is not an excuse to eat unhealthy foods. However, you don’t have to give up your favorite comfort foods (I could not live without grilled cheese sandwiches in the winter). Find healthier alternatives! There are a large amount of websites that give you “better for you” versions of your favorite comfort food dishes. Even just replacing a few ingredients for better choices (in my case, that would be whole wheat/grain bread and a lower fat cheese) can help.

4. Do Fun Things at Home

My favorite thing to do during the winter is take a nice hot bath, especially after shoveling during a snowstorm. If you are starting to feel down, find something that you can do in the house that will boost your mood. Take a bath (side note: epsom salts are fantastic for relieving muscle aches, bake, read a book with a cup of hot tea/coffee/cocoa, or do anything that you know will make you feel happy. This seems obvious but for many, going out is a main source of joy. Being stuck indoors can be hard and disheartening, but some fun at home activities can make it all better.

5. Talk to Someone

If you are feeling seriously down, and especially if you are having harmful thoughts, reach out to someone. It could be a family member, friend or a mental health professional. Talking out your problems can help you find the solution that fits you personally. Finding a solution that is right for you is key because here is the truth: winter comes every year and some times are going to be hard. Finding things that work for you and can be used every year will aid in the success of you conquering the “winter blues”.

Stay warm and be happy!

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