Happiness, Optimism

Beating the winter blues

When was the last time I felt the warm sun on my skin? Drove with the windows down blasting music? Went for a nice walk and enjoyed what nature had to offer? Didn’t look out the window to see grey skies for most of the day?

If I had to guess, it was probably around the September time frame.

The winter blues: I’ve got them, and I’ve got them bad.

Where it all begins…

When the snow starts falling and we begin to see the first signs of winter, it’s typically a happy time. The holidays season is in full swing, we’re looking forward to spending time with our families and we’re actually hoping for snow.

We’re surrounded by the magic of the holidays (and even get a break from work because of it). Life is good.

Post-New Year is really when it hits you. You have a long (like, months long) stretch of excitement-less time ahead of you. You get stuck in a routine, with each grey-skied day eerily similar to the one before it. You have no breaks from work, and you long for the warmth and the sun.

Before you know it, you’re feeling down for absolutely no reason, and you just need a break. You have the winter blues, and it blows.

What can you do to beat the blues?

Being that I am currently in the midst of the winter blues, I did what I do best and searched for some ways to get over this funk we all tend to feel at this time of the year. (Unless you live some place where it’s nice year-round. In which case, I hate you.)

Some things I found seemed like they could actually help and some just seemed like people pulled them out of thin air, so I decided not to include those (you’re welcome):

  1. Make Vitamin D your best friend. Did you know that your body naturally creates Vitamin D when you’re in direct sunlight? So, when you’re not (a.k.a. 6 months at a time in Ohio), you run the risk of Vitamin D deficiencies, which can cause depression. You can be gross (in my humble opinion) and drink glasses upon glasses of milk, or you could go to your nearest drug store and pick up some supplements.
  2. Be active. I know, it’s cold and wet and sad outside, which only makes you want to stay cuddled up on the couch, but don’t! Go for a walk, go to the gym, or do some exercises in your living room (Grokker has some great workout and yoga videos). It’ll get your blood and your endorphins flowing!
  3. Learn something new. During the winter, you can’t just head to the beach for the day or take your dog on a walk through the park, so you have to fill your time with other things. Take this dreary period of time and use it to pick up a new hobby, whether that be reading, doing yoga, learning sign language or starting a blog!
  4. Eat healthier. Winter can send you in to hibernation mode, meaning you eat and eat and eat with no end in sight—simply because you’re bored. The biggest mistake you could make is filling yourself with junk instead of healthy, whole foods. When you eat good, you’ll feel good. Your energy levels will go up and you’ll want to do other things besides lay around the house. (Trust me, I ate 6 cookies the other day and felt like absolute garbage.)
  5. Book a vacation (or a staycation). At this point of the year, everyone wants to get away, but sometimes that’s just not possible. Whether it be tight budgets or limited paid time off, sometimes it’s hard to get away. So, plan a little weekend getaway close to home. You can spend a weekend at your favorite indoor water park or just fill your Saturday and Sunday with plans to go places nearby. Sometimes a little break from everyday responsibilities is all you need.

The sun is on its way

The weather may be making you feel totally “blah,” at the moment, but just remind yourself that you have the power to change it. (Your feelings, not the weather, unfortunately.) You can make the conscious decision to turn your mood around, and those five little tips above can get you started.

After all, if it’s sunny and beautiful all the time, you’ll stop enjoying it, right? That’s what they say at least. (I’m starting to believe that they’re liars, because I’d LOVE to enjoy the sunshine year-round.)

Plus, if you need something to keep you going, just remember that Punxsutawney Phil did NOT see his shadow on February 2, which supposedly means we’re due for an early spring. On the other hand, historically, he’s only right 50% of the time, so…

Either way, the first day of spring is only 29 days away. Twenty. Nine. Days. Hang tight, my friends, the blues are almost over.


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