While many people enjoy winter for the snow, skiing, sledding, warm fires or hot cocoa, just as many people find winter a hard season to get through. The chill, the cold and flu season, the slush of ice and snow to drive through and astronomical heating costs get a lot of people down. But, by taking a few measures every day, beating the winter blahs is as easy as opening your blinds on a sunny day! However, nothing beats eating right and exercise in making you feel more energized and ready to take on those winter blahs.
One of the toughest things about winter is being cooped up indoors. Sometimes it feels like you don’t see the sun for days, and not always because of clouds. Always remember to open your blinds on sunny days-whether in your home or in your office. The sun will brighten your spirits and allow you to feel less claustrophobic and cooped up. Also, if in your home, sun pouring into windows will allow you to keep the thermostat at a cooler temperature as the sun warms the house. However, remember to close those blinds when the sun goes down or you could be losing precious heat!
If you don’t mind the cold, make sure to go outside. Ice skate, sled, ski, or just take a short walk around the neighborhood. Even if the cold doesn’t affect you, you may be less likely to be motivated to go outside in the winter. However, getting outdoors will release feelings of isolation during those pesky winter months.
Staying active through the cold months is hard. If you work from home or don’t have to be anywhere on the weekends, it is tempting not to leave your bed at all. Especially if you turn the heat down at night, it will be hard to face the cold air of the house and a lot easier to scoot back under the covers and sleep. So, give yourself things to do in the morning. Whether it’s grocery shopping, meeting a friend for breakfast, or working on your novel-getting up out of bed is extremely important. Feeling productive will beat the blahs a lot more than a sluggish two more hours of sleep.
Take the time to do some pre-spring cleaning. The winter months are the best times to get activities done that fall by the wayside in warmer months. Organize your storage space, get rid of useless items. Slot an hour or two a day for each cleaning/organizing project until you finish. Again, productivity is the key to beating those blue feelings. Besides, you will definitely thank yourself when you can enjoy the spring weather instead of worrying about your messy closets.
Enjoy winter activities that won’t be available come summer. Light the fireplace and curl up with a good book. Bake warm, comfort foods or make soups. Have a steaming cup of hot cocoa. If your kids have the day off from school due to snow or cold, have board game tournaments or curl up under blankets and watch your favorite movies together.
However, the most important thing anyone can do to beat feelings of isolation, fatigue or mild depression during the winter months is to stay healthy and take care of yourself. Taking vitamins is always important, but even more so during the winter months when germs and viruses manage to affect people more than any other season. Eat a balanced diet, especially making efforts to include Vitamin C to help ward off colds. Wash your hands frequently (especially if you work with kids or have kids of your own!) Don’t forget to work out. By keeping your body healthy and in shape you are more likely to ward off colds, bugs, and the flu. Just staying healthy through the winter months is a major accomplishment, but it takes work! Don’t forget the protein that soups and pastas usually lack. Try to lay off sugars and empty calories and focus on foods rich in vitamins and minerals. It’s not an easy task, but it’s even more important to concentrate on health (not weight loss) during the winter months. Your body and your mind will thank you by being more active, alert, and less likely to feel those blahs!
There are a lot of things to do that will keep your mind off the winter blahs. However, they all require a conscious effort. Part of defeating the winter blahs is knowing that they affect you. If winter months generally make you feel sluggish, bored, isolated, cranky or depressed, try out a few of these methods. And, always remember to take care of yourself! A healthy body is the most important step to beating those winter blahs.