If I am being honest, winter is my least favorite season. I love the holidays and those are a few bright points during this long, cold season, but if you are like me – you end up with the post-holiday blahs. January hits me like a giant wall that I feel that I need to work at to climb over. To only be met by another giant wall called February! Once again – a wall to be climbed over. Then finally I will see March and the hope of new life and renewal that spring brings lightens my outlook.
Now, I am not talking about depression here. SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder, is real and affects many during this time of year. I’m talking about the winter blahs. Dealing with the short, cold days and even colder, long nights can feel bleak. Throw in the pandemic and the need to limit your outings and the people you see…well winter can feel rather forlorn.
Is Winter Getting You Down?
If the winter months make you feel dreary, there are a lot of things you can try to make the most of your winter and boost your mood.
12 Activities to Beat the Winter Blahs
See how you can turn your winter around for the better:
- Be active. It’s natural to slow down a little in winter, but you don’t have to sit around and wait for spring. Stay busy. Call your family and friends. Go for walks. Find some favorite podcasts and listen while you walk. I love to swim. And jumping into that outdoor lap pool during the winter months is hard – but so rewarding. Music helps! Yes, I have an underwater audio shuffle to listen o music while I swim. It is a game changer! Try to avoid the tendency to plant yourself in front of your TV or computer.
- Control how much you sleep. The vast majority of adults require 7-9 hours of sleep. Avoid allowing yourself to spend more time in bed unless a medical condition requires more rest. But make your sleep count! If you are having a tough time getting a good night’s sleep, check out my blog post, Bedtime Snacks that Encourage Sleep.
- Bathe yourself in light. There are fewer hours of sunlight in the winter, and that light is less intense. Get outside and spend some time in the sun. Sit by the window and enjoy the sun. Curl up with a good book in a sunny spot. I’m currently reading The Searcher by Tana French. so far so good! You might consider buying a special light that mimics sunlight and spend an hour each day bathing in the light.
- Find outdoor activities that you enjoy. Depending on where you live, winter can be a great time to hike, camp, ski, ice skate, or just sit in the sun. The more you can move around, the better you’ll feel. Try to get 30 minutes of active movement in each day. Think of movement, not exercise! Movement includes dancing, gardening, walking while talking on the phone, and so much more.
- Reach out to others. You can still spend time with your friends and extended family during the winter months. Everyone else is in the same boat. Throw a winter party (via Zoom this year). Take an online class. Chat with people online.
- Eat well. Dietary habits tend to take a turn for the worse during the winter. Make a real effort to maintain a healthy diet all year. The poorer your diet, the poorer you’ll feel. Experiment with your diet and see what makes you feel the best.
- Stretch. Take a moment every morning to stretch. Reach for the stars, bend to the ground, breathe and stretch. Get up from your desk and stretch. Take a few minutes every day to stretch and breath. Take part in yoga or pilates or just roll out an exercise mat and give your whole body a nice and even slow stretch.
- Nourish your creative side! Whether you enjoy the adult coloring books or something more – let your creativity explode on a new project. Perhaps plant an indoor herb garden.
- Bring the aroma of summer into your home with a simple simmer pot. Fill a small saucepan with water and bring it to a gentle boil. Add sliced lemon, lavender essential oil, and fresh rosemary to the water. Continue to boil for a few minutes, then turn the heat down to simmer. Add water as needed to keep the simmer pot from running dry! Or light some beach scented candles and enjoy.
- Make exciting plans for spring and summer. Give yourself something to look forward to this spring. Make plans to visit local sites or a longer road trip. Design a flower garden. Plan for sunny days at the beach.
- Make exciting plans for now. There’s no reason to wait until spring to do something exciting! What can you do next month? Whom can you do it with? Make some plans that excite you. A little anticipation can help your mood tremendously. I love hosting a Winter Tea Party with my friends. That won’t work for me this year, but I do have a Zoom party planned with friends for next week.
- See your doctor. If these activities don’t lighten your mood, you may want to see your medical professional. You might be one of the many who suffer from seasonal affective disorder. Talk with your doctor about things that can help in your specific situation. Avoid waiting! Get the help you need.
Stay active, eat well, and get an appropriate amount of sleep. If you need more light, ensure that you get it. Make plans for some things that you can look forward to and spend time with others. Bring a positive light and some warmth to your winters with these tips and they’ll be easier on you overall!