10 Ways To Avoid The Winter Blues
Let me first start by saying that Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a real thing. If you think you’re experiencing depression and not just a case of the “winter blues” you should see your doctor because we’re not doctors here and nothing in this article is meant to be medical advice. I’ve really got to stress that point because, like really, I. AM. NOT. A. DOCTOR. So you interweb crazies that are looking for medical advice and someone to sue–move along, this is not the place for you.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, I want to say that I am not a fan of winter. Sure, it’s a necessary evil. I don’t think I could live somewhere that didn’t have a proper winter because it would just suck all of the joy out of spring! You know, that moment when all the snow melts and everyone in the northern states start wearing shorts and tank tops and flip flops the minute it’s 60 degrees outside! LOL Ah yes, these are MY people! As a matter of fact, I wear flip flops as long as there isn’t snow currently on the ground.
With that being said, I get in a funk every year during the winter. That time between Christmas and warmth just messes with my head, I guess. I don’t like to be penned up indoors. I hate how dreary and colorless it is. I hate how everything smells stale. I hate that my food is not as fresh and vibrant. I’d say I have a case of the winter blues (also known as the snowy sorrows, the blizzard blahs, and the frosty funk) every year, but I’m finding ways to get past it.
That’s a dirty word, right? You don’t have to go to the gym and all that, but just be active. I usually try to throw myself into my housework (aka all the crap that I neglected to clean all summer). Being active gets your body out of it’s winter funk too. You know the funk I’m talking about–where you eat one cookie and gain 14 pounds. Yeah, your body thinks it’s time to hibernate so we gotta kick it up a notch. Winter sports and activities are a great way to get some of that exercise too. When was the last time you went sledding, ice skating or skiing? Why not today?!
The winter blues can be fought off to some degree just by getting a dose of natural sunlight! So open those curtains even though it looks like a white death outside. While you’re at it, be sure to soak up some rays while you’re shoveling, salting, and scraping unmentionable amounts of snow and ice off your vehicles–take off the ski mask! Sunlight helps your body to produce vitamin D, and also produces endorphins that make you feel happy! You don’t want to get sunburnt so don’t over do it, and try to avoid the tanning beds because we all know the risks of those things.
Turn on the Lights.
Making your home brighter makes it feel like a bright sunny day. It tricks your brain into thinking you’re getting more sunlight than you really are and can definitely increase your mood! I have made a habit of this over the years and find myself with every light in the house on when it’s overcast and gloomy all year round!
I don’t need to lecture anyone. I fail at eating healthy and eating right very often. Thrive foods helps me stay on track because it’s easy and quick. Planning and prepping my meals helps me stay on track too. But sometimes the cookies and chips just call my name, and I’m weak. You can be better than me and you can resist!
Keep Yourself Busy.
Whatever it is that you enjoy, go do it. I like to paint and create and write, so here we are. I also like to read. I keep lots of houseplants too–which kinda simulates spring/summer. The greenery cheers me up and it gives me something to do too! It could be anything for you, but find it, and pursue it. If you can’t think of anything, then it’s time to try something new!! Find a new hobby if necessary.
Make it smell like spring or summer.
There are so many options for this one. I get on a kick sometimes–right now it’s lemon and citrus scents. So I’m using essential oils for that, and even putting lemon in my water. Some of my most favorite scents in winter are rose and lilac and sandalwood (which just smells really clean and fresh to me). Candles, wax warmers, air fresheners, whatever you want to use. I like to use a warming pot that came with our old crockpot to make a nice potpourri. I only have to fill it once in the morning and unplug it at night. It puts a good amount of moisture back in the air too!
Listen to music that reached deep down in your soul and can pull you out of your funk. Listen to music that makes you want to sing along and dance. Listen to music that is stimulating and happy. Above all, listen to music that moves you and makes you smile.
Avoid What Makes You Unhappy.
Seems like common sense, right? I’ve heard of lots of people avoiding the news altogether because they find it depressing to watch and listen to it. Well, they find that they also have to avoid social media and some tv/radio stations and youtube channels to find their peace. I don’t have much of that problem because I have always avoided things that make me unhappy. Life is TOO SHORT, my friends, entirely too short.
Plan a Getaway.
Planning a vacation or road trip or even a weekend away can stimulate the senses. It’s great if you can get away to a warm place in the winter, but even if you can’t, the planning is beneficial. Even if you’re planning a trip that may take place years from now–just thinking about it can be a distraction from the winter blues.
Keep a Schedule.
This is probably the biggest and best way that I avoid getting into a terrible funk, and succumbing to full on depression in the winter months. We keep a schedule. This is mostly thanks to the Mister’s insanely accurate internal clock. I could and would sleep the day away if he didn’t wake me up. He even helps me keep my schedule on the weekends by waking me up by 10am. He’s up by 7am no matter what day of the week it is, but he’s a dear and let’s me sleep. Thank you Mr. Wonderful, I appreciate that so much!!
These 10 things are what keeps my winter blues at bay, nearly without fail. I do occasionally have days where I just don’t feel like doing anything but taking a nap, but I force myself to snap out of it and go back to these good habits that keep me going strong and mentally healthy!
Do you have a tip you’d like to see added to this list? Let’s hear about it in the comments!