You’re not alone if you’re feeling a little blue this winter. The shorter days in the northern hemisphere, cold and windy weather and lack of sunlight can impact people’s moods. But that doesn’t mean you must let the winter blues get the best of you.
You can do plenty of things to avoid feeling down during this time of year — or at least make it more tolerable if it’s already happening for you.
Here are some tips for overcoming winter blues:
1) Allow yourself to feel down, but don’t wallow in it.
Remember that you are not alone in feeling this way. Many people experience the winter blues, and it’s okay to admit that you’re one of them (even if you feel embarrassed to tell someone). The most important thing is to let yourself feel down and know when it’s time to move on.
Don’t let the blues:
- drag you down for too long
- make you feel guilty
- make you feel like a failure because of your moodiness
- leave lasting damage on your psyche
2) Let there be light
Get outside and get some sunshine into your life. Sunlight helps the body make vitamin D, an essential nutrient for good health. It helps produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood.
Getting some sunshine into your life can help reduce stress and improve your overall well-being.
3) Eat a balanced diet.
Regarding eating healthy during tough times, we don’t recommend cutting out all the fun things. But you should plan to eat more whole foods and cut out the junk. This means avoiding processed foods, especially sugary ones like soda or candy bars—though we know it’s tempting!
We recommend adding more vegetables and fruit to your diet (this goes for breakfast, too!). These plant-based foods will give you fibre, vitamins, minerals, and other crucial nutrients for good health—even during the winter blues season!
If you’re on a budget, it may be difficult to afford expensive meats like beef or fish daily when money is tight. That’s why we recommend trying new ways to incorporate beans into your diet instead: they’re packed with protein but cost much less than meat at the grocery store!
And if money is really tight this month? Say no thanks to coffee shops and buy some frozen berries instead; they’re just as delicious in smoothies as fresh ones would’ve been without breaking the bank.
4) Get moving
Look for opportunities to be more active, even if it’s just walking more or taking the stairs.
If exercise isn’t an option due to weather conditions or lack of motivation (common symptoms), try indoor activities that boost endorphin production, such as painting or drawing, cooking something delicious from scratch (especially baking), and playing with pets – puppies and kittens.
Power walk, jog, or bike to work or school instead of driving. It might feel like a lot of extra time and effort initially, but it will become routine over time. Plus, you’re saving money on gas!
Choose stairs over elevators whenever possible. This one is straightforward—just think about taking the stairs every time you enter an elevator and see where that gets you! Stairs are also great for building endurance in your legs and glutes to handle more intense workouts later.
Do strength training exercises like squats with weights or body weight. Get yourself to do activities like pushups at home when it’s too cold outside (and remember those ever-dreaded pushup stands!).
5) Get Social
Surround yourself with cheerful people. The first step to beating the winter blues is surrounding yourself with upbeat and positive people. These are the ones you want to be with when feeling down and blue. You might need more of their energy than you’d think, so try not to hold back from telling them how you feel. They’ll support and encourage you through your struggles.
When considering who these cheerful people are, don’t think about whether or not they have achieved what you want to achieve or have accomplished what you wish for yourself.
Focus on their character traits instead.
- Are they kind?
- Are they generous?
- Do they make others laugh?
- Are they fun to be around?
- Can they be trusted as friends?
Be wary of social media feeds with people boasting about their accomplishments and perfect lives. It’s easy for such feeds (and other aspects of life) to make us feel bad about ourselves if we compare ourselves to others’ success stories rather than focusing on our own goals and achievements.
6) Fight it head-on
Winter blues can be avoided by adopting a few habits and avoiding things that could make them worse.
Avoid the following:
- staying in bed all-day
- drinking alcohol before noon
- wearing socks to bed (or while sleeping)
The winter blues can be a frustrating experience, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything you can do about them. The key is to stay active and focused on positive things. You don’t have to ignore your feelings or pretend like everything’s okay when it’s not, but focusing on those things in your life that bring you joy will help keep the mood swings from getting too extreme. It may also help to have some support from others who know what it feels like when they’re under attack from those pesky blue devils!