Darker days and colder weather mean winter is here and with it, the winter blues. You may find the snowy season makes you feel less energized, more moody, unfocused, and ‘blah’. The cold, gray atmosphere can definitely affect how you feel. The good news is there are lots of things to do to lift your mood! Beat the winter blues and stay upbeat this season with these 8 bad-mood blasters:
1. Make the most of it
The winter isn’t everyone’s favorite season, considering the wet, cold and gray conditions. But there are lots of fun activities to make the most of it! From downhill skiing to skating and warm hot chocolate, check out our blog for fun ways to celebrate winter!
2. Focus on a hobby
When you’re cooped up inside for the winter, it’s the perfect opportunity to focus on a new (or old) hobby. Like to draw? Always wanted to learn how to play the guitar? Take this season to sign up for a class or lessons, and focus your attention on doing something you love. Learning new things and crossing something off your bucket list is a great way to reignite your zest for life!
3. Practice gratitude
Practicing gratitude means to take the time to notice and appreciate the positive aspects of life. Research has shown that practicing gratitude is strongly related to well-being including mood, satisfaction with life, and health-related quality of life.¹ Winter is the perfect time to get a new journal and start a daily practice of writing down what you’re grateful for.
4. Take Vitamin D
Knowing you’re following a wellness routine and taking care of yourself can definitely lift your mood. During the winter, it’s hard to get enough sunlight for your body to make vitamin D. People living in colder climates may benefit from taking a vitamin D supplement during the winter months.* Ask your doctor if taking a vitamin D supplement is right for you.
5. Stay active
Just because you’re stuck indoors doesn’t mean you can’t stay active. Consider joining a class to keep you accountable, hit the gym first thing in the morning, or subscribe to a workout app that allows you to move at home! Making physical activity a priority will help put you in a good mood, despite the weather outside.
6. Try a Light Box
Known as light therapy, sitting close to a bright light lamp for 30 minutes a day is supposed to mimic sun exposure during a bright, sunny day. It’s thought that the bright light helps support your body’s natural daily circadian rhythms the same way sunlight does. Of course, light therapy may not work or be appropriate for everyone. Ask your doctor if light therapy is something you should consider.
7. Plan a vacation
Let’s be honest. Cold winter weather is the perfect excuse to fly off to a tropical destination! Can’t afford a trip right now, start saving for a later date. Even just beginning to plan a trip this time of year will give you something to look forward to!
8. Be social
Winter is a great time of year to host girls night, a dinner party, or join a book club. Any kind of weekly or monthly event where you see your friends or get to mix and mingle is great for your morale! Even if you want to hibernate for the winter, make the effort to socialize and it’ll be spring before you know it.
If you’re experiencing the occasional winter blues, try these suggestions to help you stay upbeat. But if you’re feeling down all the time, please make sure to speak with your healthcare practitioner. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or other mental health conditions may be made worse by the darkness of winter. No one needs to suffer in silence, so make sure to ask for help.
¹Redwine, L.S. et al (2016). Psychosom Med. 78(6): 667-76.