4 Ways to Overcome the Dreaded Winter Blues

4 Ways to Overcome the Dreaded Winter Blues

This time of year can be so hard for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. We *know* that spring is coming, but it’s not here yet. It’s been months of cold and darkness. And since I’m writing this in 2021, we’ve been stuck at home for the last year. Sigh. The winter blues have kicked in.

While there’s no formal diagnosis for the winter blues, it’s usually considered a period of fatigue, restlessness, or sadness during the winter months. Researchers believed that the winter blues are caused by the pressures of the holidays, isolation due to weather, and the lack of sunlight.

There is a more serious version of the winter blues – Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This is a form of depression that shows up or deepens during the winter months. If your symptoms are starting to negatively affect your daily life, please contact your doctor ASAP!

For most of us, the winter blues will end when spring arrives. But who wants to wait until then to feel better?? Luckily, there are some things we can do at home right now that can help us overcome the winter blues!

4 Ways to Overcome the Dreaded Winter Blues

winter blues

Start Moving

Physical movement can help reverse some of the physical and mental symptoms. Exercise releases hormones that can improve your mood in the short term. Exercise also improves your sleep and stress levels (and learning), so get moving! While that spin class might work, you can also walk around the neighborhood or have a dance party in your room.

Find Your Friends

One of the issues with winter is that we tend to be more isolated. Reach out to your social circle and schedule some quality time together. If you can combine that with movement, so much the better!

I’m writing this in the winter of 2021, so I know that we are all stuck indoors. As much as we are all Zoom-fatigued, it’s the closest many of us can get to friends right now. You can have a group dance party, make a dish and then eat it together, try a craft as a group, or play bingo. There are options!

Get Sunlight

If the sun is out, get outside. Like exercise, sunlight causes your body to release all sorts of hormones that make you feel better. Take the dog for a walk or head to the local park. If it’s too cold outside (I live in Colorado, so I get that), try to set up your desk next to a window and keep those curtains open.

If you can’t get real sunlight, consider a light therapy lamp. Sitting in front of the light for 30 minutes a day especially in the morning, can help relieve symptoms.

Stick to a Sleep Routine

Getting regular sleep can also help regulate your body’s hormones and improve your mood and focus. Create a nighttime routine that helps you wind down. And do your best to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. (Psst – you can’t “make up” sleep on the weekends by sleeping in. Sadly, our bodies don’t work like that.) And don’t forget that exercising regularly can help you sleep better!

These changes to your current routine will help you get through the end of winter and feel better! Don’t try changing all at one that can be overwhelming. Pick 1 or 2 and start making those changes. As you see progress, add another!

How do you combat the winter blues? Let me know in the comments below!

Related Posts: How to Make the Most of Short Winter Days, How a Nightly Routine Can Make for a Better Tomorrow, Why Exercise is So Important for Learning

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