Six Tips To Combat The Winter Blues

As the days get shorter and the weather gets colder, it’s easy to start feeling down. This seasonal change in mood, known as the “winter blues” or “seasonal affective disorder” (SAD), affects millions of people every year. There are many things to help keep your spirits high during this time. Mental health professional Sherief Abu-Moustafa shares his top six tips to help fight the winter blues.

1. Get Outside

Even if it’s cold and raining, take some time each day to get outside. Being stuck indoors can make the winter blues worse. Just a few minutes of fresh air and natural light can help improve your mood.

Sunlight is a natural mood booster. Spending some time outside in the sun can help improve your mood when feeling down. If it’s too cold to spend time outside, try sitting near a window to get some natural light.

Getting outside doesn’t have to take up much time or significantly impact your schedule. If you work during the day, try taking a walk on your lunch break or in the evening after dinner. If you’re home with kids, bundle them up and take a quick walk around the block. Or, start by walking to the post office to get your mail or parking at the back of a parking lot when running errands.

If you can’t get outside, try using a light therapy box. These devices emit artificial sunlight that can help improve your mood. Light therapy is a safe and effective treatment for the winter blues.

2. Exercise

Exercise releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects. Moderate exercise is key to maintaining your mental health during winter. Plus, getting your body moving is a fantastic way to warm up on a cold day, Sherief Abu-Moustafa suggests.

If you don’t have time for a formal workout, there are still plenty of ways to get active. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking or biking to work or school, and doing yard work are all excellent forms of exercise. And, if you have young kids, take advantage of their boundless energy by playing with them outside.

3. Nourish Your Body

Eating a balanced diet and getting enough sleep are two important things you can do for your physical and mental health. When you’re feeling down, reaching for some deep-fried or super sweet comfort foods is tempting. But these foods will only make you feel worse in the long run.

To combat the winter blues, focus on eating nutritious meals with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Also, make sure to get enough protein and healthy fats. And be sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Homemade soups full of veggies, whole-grain toast with avocado, and roasted chicken are all excellent wintertime meal ideas.

4. Rest Your Mind and Body

In addition to getting enough physical exercise, it’s essential to give your mind a break from time to time. We tend to focus intensely on work, school, and other responsibilities during the winter, which can lead to stress and anxiety.

To rest your mind, Sherief Abu-Moustafa recommends taking time each day to do something you enjoy. This time can be spent reading, listening to music, playing a game, or spending time with friends or family. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s something that relaxes you and helps you forget about your troubles for a while

Getting enough sleep is critical for fighting the winter blues. Most people need seven to eight hours of sleep each night. If you have trouble sleeping, establish a bedtime routine or try some relaxation techniques before going to bed.

5. Connect With Others

One of the most important things you can do to fight the winter blues is to connect with other people. Isolation and loneliness can worsen the winter blues, so it’s important to reach out to friends, family, and others when feeling down.

There are many ways to stay connected during winter. You can meet up with friends for coffee, have dinner with family, or join a club or community group. Or, stay connected online by chatting with friends on social media or joining an online forum related to one of your interests.No matter how you connect with others, the important thing is to reach out and let people know you’re thinking of them.

6. Take Up a New Hobby

Do you have a hobby that you enjoy? If not, now is the perfect time to find one. Doing something you enjoy can help take your mind off your winter blues and make you feel more optimistic. There are endless possibilities when it comes to finding a new hobby. You can pick up an old hobby that you used to enjoy or try something completely new or unique.

Some ideas for new hobbies include:

  • Knitting or crocheting
  • Painting (check out a class or painting tutorials online)
  • Trying a new sport
  • Joining a book club
  • Attending concerts or shows
  • Visiting museums

Final Thoughts

The winter blues can be frustrating, but it’s essential to be patient and give yourself time to adjust. It takes time for your body to adjust to the change in seasons, so be patient and give yourself a few weeks to acclimate.

If you find that your winter blues are lasting longer than a few weeks, or if you’re having trouble functioning normally, it’s important to reach out for help. Talk to your doctor or a mental health professional if you’re feeling depressed or anxious. They can help you develop a plan to manage your symptoms and feel better.

The winter blues are common, but that doesn’t mean you have to suffer through them. Following these tips can combat the winter blues and enjoy the season.