Beat the Winter Blues

Winter may have its perks for some, but for others, the dreariness can be a bit much. It’s cold, it’s grey, it’s wet, and it can really put a damper on your mood. Here are some ideas to help you fight off those winter blues:

Brighten Your Environment- Open windows first thing in the morning to take in as much sunlight as you can. Not only will the sunshine brighten your mood and mentality, but it can also help your body to get some extra vitamin D lacking in the cold winter months by staying inside more.

To further brighten your home, rearrange your furniture to infuse main sitting areas with light, while also allowing you to take in the beauty of the outdoors.

Eat Smarter- Choosing the right foods to eat during the winter months can have a great impact on your mood and energy. Try to avoid eating refined or processed  foods is also important to maintain a daily intake of 8 cups of water a day. Proper hydration helps improve your mood, energy level, digestion and may contribute to better mental performance.

Exercise- Exercising is not just a great way to lose weight and stay healthy, but has also has been found to elevate endorphins. Exercise encourages your brain to release certain mood enhancing chemicals while also increasing your energy level. Spending as little as 30 minutes a day doing a physical activity such as walking, running (outside or on a treadmill) or easy-to-do indoor exercises such as sit-ups or jumping jacks can be greatly beneficial.

Find the Beauty in the Season- While many of us may not like the cold, there are still many ways we can enjoy the winter. just enjoy the beauty of it. Next time you’re sitting by a window, use that opportunity to take in the beauty of the blankets of snow or the crystalline appearance of ice. You may find that it can be very relaxing and serene.

Listen to Music- When you’re having one of those down days, it may be beneficial to pop in some upbeat tunes to liven your spirits. Sometimes just listening to your favorite song or picking something to fit the mood you want to achieve can do a lot to relieve stress and increase your level of happiness or relaxation.

Plan a Vacation- If it’s possible, winter is a fabulous time to plan a vacation. Even a short weekend getaway can liven up your step. Even better, travel someplace warm to get out of the cold for a week. The anticipation as your trip approaches will pep you up and take your mind off winter. It doesn’t have to be an epic, dream vacation, but just having something to look forward to will really brighten your mood.

Help Others- Joining in a community service effort is a win/win for all parties. Not only will you feel good about contributing, but imagine all the happiness you can bring to others in the process. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Volunteer at a soup kitchen
  • Put together care packages
  • Donate clothes or food
  • Spend time with the elderly
  • Help out at an animal shelter
  • Join a neighborhood clean-up group
  • Help someone shovel or salt their walks and driveways
  • Volunteer to help at an event
  • Teach! Have a skill that you’re good at? Take the opportunity to help others learn.

Get Fresh Air- While it may not sound enticing to be out in the cold or opening your windows, the fresh air can do wonders for your mood. It can be exhilarating to feel the cold air on your face and is sure to perk you up if you’re feeling tired and drained. Furthermore, the outdoors gives your body a break from the stagnant winter air trapped inside your home.

Find Support- During the winter we need to stay social. Many times we want nothing more than to hide in the warmth of our cozy homes, but joining friends out on the town is a fun way to keep our moods in check during a gloomy day. Bundle up, go out for a few laughs with friends, and just have a good time. We can all use a little support to get through the cold months.

Set Goals- Implementing small goals and keeping up with them can increase your mood by providing a sense of achievement. Take the winter months to follow up on those New Year’s resolutions. Set small, reasonable goals that you can live up to and that sense of accomplishment is sure to give you a boost.

Shake Up Your Routine- Find any small way to break up monotony and routine:

  • Take a new route to work
  • Try some new foods
  • Watch a different TV show
  • Select a different type of book to read
  • Switch up your attire
  • Listen to a different style of music
  • Visit a new location

Winter may not be an ideal season for everyone, so all we can do is try to make the best of it. Hopefully some of these ideas will help you do just that!