I recently had a conversation with a friend about the challenges winter brings. For my friends in the south, enjoying year-round warmth, this will probably not mean much to you. Still, where I’m located in the heart of the Midwest, I do find myself trying to survive winter every year. As much as I love a good sweater and a warm pair of boots, I definitely prefer warmer temperatures.
One thing that is prevalent as temperatures drop is the “Winter Blues.” The Winter Blues can impact different people in different ways. Some may be a little more tired and irritable. Other people find themselves dealing with severe depression. Our bodies are a little more sluggish, and we are less productive at work and at home when we don’t get as much fresh air. Sometimes we find ourselves homebound due to weather. We don’t see as much sunlight, and the days are just generally shorter (though they are getting longer now). We don’t leave our homes as much and therefore do not have as much contact with people as we do during warmer weather. When it’s cold outside, there can be a certain feeling of isolation that sets in.
After this conversation, I took the time to do some research on how to combat the effects of the Winter Blues. Here are a few of the tips I found in an article from David Tran for Thrive Global, Beating the Winter Blues.
- Get fresh air. If it’s not dangerously cold out, get out for a walk even if you can only tolerate the cold for a few minutes. Five minutes of fresh air is certainly better than being closed up inside all day.
- Keep your body active. Exercise is a great way to boost your mood and warm up on cold days. According to David Tran’s article, “research has shown that those who exercise for at least 30 minutes a day can lower their rate of depression.
- Take advantage of the sunshine. I know I feel better on sunny days, so make sure to soak it up whenever the sun makes an appearance! And if you can’t find the sun, look into a light therapy lamp. This can help simulate the sun’s effect when we can’t come by it naturally.
- Stay in touch with people, even if it’s just via phone or text. As humans, we still need to feel connected with the outside world even when our bodies want to stay indoors where it’s safe and warm. If you can get together with friends and family – do it. Time with people you love is always a great way to lighten things up during the darkest months of the year.
- Make sure your body is getting the right nutrients. Our bodies need the right fuel every day, but during the winter cravings for “comfort food” go up. Find healthier alternatives to those foods to keep your body running in top condition.
- Make a playlist of the songs that make you smile and get you to move. “Studies have shown that cheery and upbeat music can significantly improve how a person feels.” notes David Tran.
- Find your favorite cold-weather drink. For me, a warm cup of coffee goes a long way in helping me forget how cold it is outside.
However you choose to do it, make sure you are taking care of yourself this winter. Spring will be here before you know it!