How to Beat the Winter Blues – 19 Tips to Uplift Your Mood in the Winter
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Are you ready to beat the winter blues? Super! Here are 19 tips to uplift your mood and feel more energetic during the cold and dark winter months.
The colder months can take their toll on your physical and mental health, even for the most positive of people.
If you are feeling a little down this winter, don’t worry. You’re not alone! The so-called winter blues is real. But the best part is that there are ways to beat it, and most of them can be done without spending any money or having to leave the house.
So how can you prepare or deal with the winter blues?
Here are 19 ideas to stay happy and healthy even when the weather outside is frightful.
Disclaimer: Please note that I’m not a mental health expert; these are just a few tips that might uplift your mood. If you suffer seasonal depression or other depressive symptoms, seek help from a mental health professional.
1. Get some natural light therapy
Try to get as much sunlight as possible. Natural sunlight might be hard to come by during the winter, but you can get some light treatment just by sitting next to the window and making sure that ALL the curtains are open and you’re getting as much light inside as possible.
And if natural “light therapy” is not possible, then there are light therapy lamps that can do the trick.
2. Use a light therapy lamp / light box
This is the first winter season I’m using a light therapy lamp, and I absolutely love it! My energy levels and mood are way up compared to previous years.
Light boxes give off a very bright light. Have it next to for a few hours a day when you’re working on your computer or put it on a kitchen countertop when you’re doing your chores or cooking. But make sure you don’t overuse the light box because this kind of light therapy can cause sleepless nights.
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3. Have a sleep schedule
Prioritize regular sleep. If you feel tired, it could be because you don’t sleep enough (or sleep too much). A good indication that you’re not getting enough sleep if you dread the moment your alarm clock rings. If you feel more energetic in the evening, you might be taking too long of a nap during the day.
Try to find a schedule that works for you and stick to it as closely as possible – even on weekends!
Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends and get the same amount of rest. This will help regulate your body’s natural clock and improve your mood.
4. Watch your favorite show or movie (but no binge-watching)
What would be better than curling up on the couch with your favorite show or movie and eating something delicious? Grab some popcorn, chocolate chip cookies, a warm drink…anything that makes you feel cozy!
Remember that it’s okay to be lazy sometimes if you don’t do this ALL the time. And no binge-watching.
5. Try hygge
What is hygge? It’s a Danish word that doesn’t have an exact translation, but it can be roughly described as “cozy togetherness.”
Hygge is all about taking the time to relax and enjoy life’s simple pleasures. Some ways to incorporate hygge into your life include reading, spending time with friends and family, listening to music, or taking walks outdoors.
6. Get outside for a walk
Fresh air is always invigorating.
Make sure you get outside every day, even if it’s just a little walk around your neighborhood.
You’ll be amazed at how even a tiny bit of outdoors can help boost mood and how refreshed you feel after spending time outdoors and getting some fresh air! It might even provide a new perspective on things.
7. Be kind and attentive to others even when you’re feeling the winter blues
Remember that others have their own issues too. Be kind and attentive to them, even if you feel stressed or overwhelmed.
8. Wear clothing that makes you feel snug and cozy
Wear clothing that makes you feel snug and cozy, like leggings and an oversized sweater.
Cover yourself up and enjoy being wrapped in a warm blanket.
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9. Fill your day with gratitude
Think of and write down three things you’re grateful for every morning, even when you don’t feel like it. It could be something as simple as “I’m grateful for my bed,” “I’m grateful for my dog,” or “I’m grateful for the sun.”
The more you practice being grateful, the better you’ll feel!
10. Keep yourself busy to beat the winter blues
Keep yourself busy with activities you enjoy: journal, do puzzles, play an instrument, or read a book.
And if you want ideas about productive activities you can do at home, check out this article: 50+ productive things to do at home when bored.
11. Keep your to-do list realistic
Even though it is good to keep busy, be gracious to yourself and keep your to-do list realistic. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to accomplish everything.
Give yourself time for relaxation and self-care. You’ll need it to beat the winter blues!
12. Be active
One of the most challenging parts of winter is getting enough exercise. It’s cold outside, and the temptation to hibernate is hard to resist. The movement can help you feel less cold, and you may feel invigorated for the rest of the day.
If you can’t join the gym, there are other ways to exercise without worrying about what the weather is doing. Even dancing around your house to your favorite music, or working out to an aerobics video, will help you reap the benefits of exercise.
13. Keep your physical and mental health in check
Print out a calendar and plan things you can do to feel better during the winter months.
It’s so easy to get down during the winter, but it will be much easier if you have a plan and something to look forward to every day or week.
Tip: And track your habits, so you’ll make sure you’re doing what you’re suppose to and not just thinking about doing them.
And I don’t know about you, but once something is on my calendar all planned out, I actually do them. If it’s just an idea that I’m thinking about, I’ll probably just put it off.
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14. Prioritize self-care
Don’t forget that it’s essential to focus on self-care, especially during the winter. And self-care doesn’t just mean getting enough sleep, a healthy diet, drinking plenty of water, but you can also pamper yourself with face masks, take a hot bath, or read your favorite book.
Put on some fluffy slippers and a robe, concentrate a moment for your own well-being, reduce stress and just spend time with yourself.
15. Reduce screen time
Another way to beat the winter blues is to reduce your screen time. This means no more scrolling through social media for hours, watching endless Instagram reels, and binge-watching Netflix.
Make a conscious decision to put your phone away an hour or even two before bedtime because the bright light on your screens can keep you from getting the restful sleep you need to beat the winter blues.
16. Plan a vacation
If you can’t afford to go on vacation now (or can’t go because of the current circumstances), start planning when you can get away. Planning is half the fun: it will keep you busy and give you something to look forward to.
But if you do have the money to spare or can find a last-minute deal, treat yourself to getting out of town for even a weekend. And when you get back home, you’re a step closer to springtime.
17. Work on a project
Everyone has projects they’ve meant to start or finish.
Maybe you’ve wanted to make a scrapbook or learn how to knit or speak Italian or catch up on reading some books or volunteering for organizations in need. Now is a perfect time.
If you can’t think of anything right away, take out a piece of paper and free-write until you uncover something you’ve meant to do. Or create a vision board. Then take steps toward your goals! The feeling of accomplishment and engagement will help pass the time and give you something to feel proud of.
18. Eat well and take your vitamins
It’s natural for our eating habits to change according to the seasons, and many of us prefer warm and nurturing dishes in the winter. But try to keep it healthy.
Don’t forget to eat vegetables and whole grains, and remember to take your vitamins (check especially your vitamin D levels).
Plus, drink lots of water since hydration will help combat the winter’s dry weather.
19. Stay connected with friends and family
Make sure to stay connected with your loved ones, whether by phone, text message, email, or in person.
The winter blues can make you feel isolated and lonely, so staying connected is vital!
Though it is tempting to hide out at home in the winter, be careful not to lose touch with your friends and relatives – some of whom may also be struggling with cabin fever!
Write letters, exchange photos, or set up a weekly phone date with a friend or relative. This will help beat the sense of isolation that sometimes sets in with the long stretches of dreary weather.
The winter blues is no joke. It can really take a toll on your mood and productivity, but there’s plenty you can do to fight back.
If you’re feeling the winter blues, try some of the tips above.
Whether it’s staying connected to loved ones or taking on a project that gives you a sense of accomplishment, you can do plenty of things to help beat those darker moods and feel more energized again!
What is winter blues?
A form of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), winter blues is a type of depression that occurs in the fall and lasts until spring.
The symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
Symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) may include irritability, sleep problems, weight gain, and decreased energy, leading to feelings of sadness and hopelessness. It can affect your body’s internal clock (circadian rhythm).
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Some people have symptoms that may resemble depression. These include sadness, anxiety, or a feeling of hopelessness.”
If you have anxiety, mood disorders, difficulty concentrating, and find yourself feeling sad or depressed, make sure you’ll seek help from a professional – even better if you’ll find someone who specializes in treating SAD.