Y’all, this winter has been long. According to our furry friend Mr. Groundhog, we’ve got quite a few more weeks of it. As a born and bred Midwesterner in New England, I’ve not known a winter without cold or snow. The winter blues are real, and even if you love the cold, below zero days are no fun. Today I thought I would share my tips for beating the winter blues.
Before I get into this, I want to let you know that sometimes this can be more than just being down about the weather. Seasonal affective disorder is a real type of depression. If you feel like you’re in a funk or cloud that isn’t lifting, please go talk to someone!
How to Beat the Winter Blues
Take Advantage of Warmer Days
Like I said, I always lived in a cold climate. No matter how long winter is, there are always a few warm days, aka anything over 38 degrees. Get outside, go for a walk or run! Spend some time at a park, or outdoor shopping mall.
The point is to get out of your home. Soak in some Vitamin D, and breathe in the fresh air! This is one of the biggest things that you can do for yourself during the dark months. Get outside if you have to talk a walk at lunch, or get a friend and go for a walk with coffee!
Keep Your Curtains/Shades Open
During the weekends, keep your shades open so that the light gets in! There’s no reason to not keep them open. By letting the light in, you’re allowing your body to realize what time of day it is. Which you’re probably like “Ashley, duh.” But guess what? If you work an 8:30-5:30 job, your body doesn’t get more than 30 minutes of sunlight. By allowing your home to have natural light during the day, you’re giving it more of what it needs.
Move Your Body
Another important key is to actually work out or move your body regularly. In the summer, you automatically do more physical things because the air doesn’t hurt your face. But actually, there are a lot more summer activities where you’re outside and moving your body. Try yoga, or join a gym that also offers free classes. There are free workout apps, or do the daily “tone it up” moves from their app.
The key part is to reap the rewards of physical exercise in the winter because endorphins are going to help elevate your mood!
Do Social Things
Is it just me, or does the winter make you never want to leave your bed? Instead of curling up with Netflix all day, be sure to get away from your screens. Go to a cool wine bar, brewery or restaurant! Try to go bowling, or head to a sporting event like basketball (college or pro) and there is hockey as well.
Grab a couple of friends and get out! Holing up like a hermit hasn’t helped anyone.
Hygge It Up
Now, if it’s in the negatives, you’ll find me at home. Embrace the cold weather, light some candles and turn on your fireplace. Grab a board game or good book and curl up with a fuzzy blanket. Drink some wine, or warm up a peppermint schnapps hot chocolate.
Fill your living room and bedroom with fuzzy pillows and flannel blankets! Give yourself permission to turn off the TV and enjoy music and a good book. In a few months, you’ll be outside reading, and might miss being inside!
Learn a New Hobby
Have you wanted to improve your cooking chops? Or how about learning how to knit or code? Take this time to learn a new hobby! Try new dishes, or knit a blanket for you to use. Code your way to a new website or game!
By actively using your brain, you’ll stop yourself from hibernating too much, and it can be something you look forward to each season.
Start A Yearly Tradition
Love going to cabins in the summer? They can be just as fun in the winter! Start a tradition to have a cabin weekend in February with your best group of friends. It’s something that you can look forward to, and it’s sure to brighten up the middle of your winter.
The bottom line is to try not to let winter get the best of you. Change your attitude a little bit, and think of things you can look forward to in the winter. It’s not always easy, and there are days that winter gets the best of me. (To be clear, the heat and humidity in Boston often gets to me as well).
Think of winter as a season to be enjoyed, and you may just start to look forward to it!
How do you beat the winter blues?
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