Beating the Winter Blues – 10 Tips

10 Tips for Beating the Winter Blues

For those of us who live in northern climates, winter can be long and dreary.   To avoid feeling depressed, try some of the following ideas for beating the winter blues.

  1. Exercise! Yes, it’s often listed as a cure for whatever ails you.  And with good reason.  Along with many physical benefits, exercise can improve mood and mental health.  A brisk walk or some simple stretches may bring a boost to your outlook.
  2. Get outside as much as possible. Sure, it’s cold, but with proper outdoor gear, greeting the fresh air will improve sleep and mood.  Just a few minutes a day outside can help to alleviate “cabin fever”.
  3. Get some Vitamin D. It’s especially good to get outside when (if!!) the sun is shining to soak up some Vitamin D.  Low levels of Vitamin D have been linked to depression.  Taking a Vitamin D supplement during winter may help to improve mood.  If you can swing it, head south for a few days to a place where the sun is shining
  4. Light up your life! Our short, gloomy days deprive us of light, causing some people to develop seasonal affective disorder (SAD).  Even those who don’t have SAD may still feel down after a stretch of cloudy, gray days.  So, open your shades, turn on your lights, and consider buying a full-spectrum light.  Be sure to get a light box specifically made to combat SAD.
  5. Start a project. Clean a closet, sort & shred old papers, refinish a coffee table, or write down memories for your kids and grandkids.  Having something purposeful to focus on and accomplish can keep us from dwelling on negative thoughts.
  6. Eat smart. Avoid sugar and white-flour products.  Both can have addictive qualities that cause unhealthy cravings.  What we eat affects how we feel.  Plan healthy meals and snacks, get rid of unhealthy temptations, and stay well hydrated.
  7. Donate your time, talent and money. Giving makes us feel good!  Volunteering in the community gets you out and about and interacting with others.  If you can’t easily leave your house in winter weather, offer to call others who may feel stuck at home.  Or see if another volunteer can pick you up and take you to the volunteer site.  Spend the winter months making items that someone else needs.  Perhaps invite a friend or two over to join you in your efforts.
  8. Take on a new challenge. Join a writing class, learn to play an instrument, take up yoga, or learn a different language.  There are local community groups to connect with for any number of activities.  And if you aren’t much of a “joiner”, there are a multitude of internet options to walk you through a new learning experience.
  9. Call a friend. Maybe just to talk.  But better to plan a lunch date, or go to a movie, play or concert.  Share a recipe and make a meal together.
  10. Listen to up-beat music. Music has been shown to reduce pain & anxiety while bringing joy to the listener.  Playing music can have even more positive effects.  Get out that guitar, pound away on the piano, or tap your fingers & toes along with the radio.

Hopefully, reading the list of ways to beat the winter blues already has you smiling over the possibilities.  Think Spring!