Winter is a really tough time for a lot of people. Once the holidays are over, there are several months of cold, snowy winter left, and there is limited opportunity to be outside. Have you ever heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)? In all seriousness, I experience this, to some degree, during January and February every year (and sometimes March and April, depending on how long our winter lasts).
I struggle more with being upbeat and happy, I’m less motivated to exercise (unless I get stressed out about the weather, then I’m all for it), and I’ve even broken down in tears in years past because of how much I desperately desire to just be outside in the sun. 10 degrees with mounds of snow, sidewalks covered in ice, and bone-chilling wind isn’t exactly the ideal climate to be out jogging/walking/biking/relaxing in.
Over the past few years, as I’ve come to realize just how negatively these tough winter months can wear on me, I’ve learned ways to be proactive about keeping my mood lifted and my attitude positive.
Here are some of my go-to ways to fight the winter blues:
- make more “dates” with friends (go out for coffee or tea, lunch or dinner, meet up at the gym, go see a concert, walk around the mall, etc.)
- get dressed up and go out on a *real date* with my husband
- play with my dog without any other distractions (pet owners – you know this totally helps boost your mood!)
- if possible, plan a weekend with friends (we have a trip planned out for February, and it really helps to have something to look forward to during this time of the year!)
- call a family member and chat
- attend a painting class
- search out a volunteer opportunity/service project and make a difference in someone else’s life
- join a church or community group that meets regularly (I look forward to my small group Bible study each week)
Move your Body
- turn on some music and dance around my house
- throw in an exercise dvd (maybe from the library?) or work out for a bit to something I find on Youtube…and if either of those don’t seem appealing, there’s always a stockpile here! **perfect for during naptime if you’re a mama!
- exercise at the gym!! go to a fitness class, print out a workout from online and try that out, ask a friend to meet there for either a walk together or a class
- if the weather gets warm enough, embrace the season – bundle up and go snow boarding/tubing/skiing, take a hike if possible, or go for a walk
- eat healthy, wholesome food!!! unsurprisingly, this really makes a huge difference.
- experiment with new-to-me fruits, veggies, and whole grains
- try out a new recipe (there are a hundred+ here that I have waiting to try!)
- don’t use the dreary weather as an excuse to eat junk food – it’ll just make me want to laze around on the couch even more
- be creative in the kitchen and come up with a meal/recipe of my own
- limit alcohol and caffeine (I don’t particularly have much of either of these, but if you do, you may want to cut back – they can contribute to anxiety and an even lower mood)
- in addition to the things listed above…paint my nails, take a bath, get a haircut, curl my hair, etc.
- stick to my schedule of daily devotions/prayer time (for a bit each morning and evening is what works best for me) <– this is how I’m reminded of where my love, hope, and strength comes from!
- take a good quality Vitamin D supplement
- make sure I get enough sleep every night (7-9 hours)
- go to the library and spend time reading! maybe a novel about a sunny, warm beach?
- enjoy a homemade dessert/treat
It’s also an option to purchase a light therapy box, if interested, so help with SAD.
What do YOU do to fight off the winter blues?