“Winter Blues” Or SAD (seasonal affective disorder) is a very real thing, affecting more than 3 million people in the United States alone. Commonly beginning late fall and last until early spring. For many it’s those temporary “dark months”, where even the happiest people can fall into it’s grip.
I wrote this a few months ago, but teetering on whether or not to post it, but I feel like it may be time. For me, you can see it in this blog (or lack of?) It’s cold. I go to work in the dark and come back right before the darkness returns. I live in a state frequently ranked in the top 3 most miserable winter states. And while I love my small tourist trap of a town, it’s not exactly booming in the winter… my motivation and excitement slips away. I want to curl up in my blankets with coffee until spring.
And I’ll let you in, I was the girl at work excited for the snow. The winter wonderland, the snowflakes and magic… but as the snow turned dirty, my excitement faded quickly into… this mess.
So here it is, I’m tired, it’s cold and I have no motivation… here are some ways to fight that.
1. Get Outside
This is the biggest and easiest. Staying couped up inside your house all winter is bound to get you gloomy. The cool air can actually be somewhat intoxicating. Fresh air, the ambient silence you can find in the snow fall, The sunlight touching your skin for the first time in what feels like forever. Go snowshoeing, build a snowman, grab a cup of coffee/cocoa and go for a walk through town. Winter may suck, but surely it’s also magical.
2. Let the Light In
Years ago I used to cover the windows with blankets to keep the heat in (I know, don’t judge) but I began noticing I also felt worse in the dark. Open the blinds and let whatever light you can get in. I also turn on as many lights as I can, even as night falls to keep the place bright. Also consider lighter painted walls (if you can), using mirrors in your decor to reflect the light.
3. Consider Your Health
Once November hits I begin taking my vitamins more seriously (hello Vitamin D, I need you.) and focusing more on regular exercise and eating healthier. Summer is easy, it’s full of farmer’s markets, good food and days hiking or at the beach. Winter however, remember the blankets and coffee? This is also the perfect time to try out all those delicious recipes and work on that beach body!
4. Plan a Vacation
I remember reading this before and thinking ehh, we don’t really vacation so… which is a. no longer true and more importantly b. IRRELEVANT! Right now, the Bahama’s is an entirely up in the air idea that if does work out is at least another year away – however day dreams of enjoying the sunshine on a pink sand beach and swimming in the ocean with the pigs is enough to fill my mind with happiness and pull me out of the winter slump. So plan, plan your spring break, plan your honeymoon, even if you aren’t engaged, plan your dream vacation… it really doesn’t matter, as long as it makes you happy.
5. Be Social
We’re humans, not bears. We’re not meant to hibernate all winter, so it’s important to get out among your friends and socialize. I’m normally not a social soul, however I’ve kept my Friday paint & wine nights and Wednesday morning coffee dates. You can also look for things to do in your area: events, festivals, etc. are all great to get you out of the house, maybe trying something new and enjoying these winter months.
6. Clean Up
From mid-December until mid-January I took to the task of going through everything in our house and decluttering. Followed by making a routine 20-30 minutes of cleaning a day to stay on top of it. It’s truly refreshing to come home to a clean house, no paper piles and be able to crawl into a fresh made bed.
7. Get a Hobby
Finally learn that thing you wanted to learn. Or pick up that thing you used to do. Read some books, do a DIY or home project, learn, whatever it is you want to invest your free time in, do that.
8. Cut Out the Naps/Over Sleeping
A cat nap is one thing, and can actually have a positive impact on your mood, mind and overall life. However I noticed when I’m in a depressive mood (which I know is also a sign of depression for many people), I like to “nap” for hours, wake up for two and go back to sleep until I have to get up for work. This makes me feel overly tired, lethargic and irritated, almost as if I didn’t sleep at all. It can also have long term affects on your health such as higher risk for heart disease, diabetes and weight control.
Do you have other ideas or ways of brightening up your winter blues? I’d love to hear and try new things.
Share with us in the comments below!
If you suffer from any type of depression, remember and know you are NOT alone.
Don't be afraid to reach out or talk to your doctor, whether it's from SAD or
something else, if you feel like you aren't in control, hopeless, or have thoughts of
hurting yourself or otherwise I encourage you to speak to a medical professional.