to beat the winter blues

to beat the winter blues

Many people experience the winter blahs.   The days are short.  The wind is cold.  The sun is often evasive. Snow and ice become an uninvited guest.  You’re starting to regret some of those sweets that you ate during the holidays.  Your energy is low, and your sleep is disruptive.  The bad news?  The Winter Blues have set in.  The good news?  There are several things you can do to beat the winter blues.

Get outside to boost your mood

Yes, it’s cold outside.  Although it may be the last thing you want to do, getting outside may actually be the one thing that can help you to fight the winter blahs.  Exposure to light can help boost your mood.  Although daylight is ideal, even exposure to bright light can be helpful.  Light Therapy has proven to help those that struggle with seasonal affective disorder.  Talk to your healthcare provider to see if light therapy could assist you. 

Exercise to renew

Exercise is a great way to beat the winter blues.  Exercise boosts your mood by increasing the endorphins in your body.  Consistent training will help you work off those post-holiday pounds, and provide an excuse to meet up with friends.  After all, this is the time of year everyone wants to exercise!  Even small amounts of exercise can help feel better by sleeping better at night. Training can also make a person feel like he/she is taking control of his.her personal life and headed in the right direction.  Talk to your healthcare provider about starting any exercise program. 

The benefit of meeting new people

Socializing may be the last thing you want to do when you are feeling blah.  Just the thought of mustering up the energy to introduce yourself to others can feel overwhelming.  Yet, interacting with others can provide a more positive focus for your attention, and has been positively studied relative to longevity.   It can also be a time where you can help someone else.  Winter can be an ideal time to spend time volunteering at a local charity or ministry.  Socialization can also mean saying a kind word to a stranger in the elevator.   There can be something so freeing and renewing that comes with the opportunity of new friendships. 

New hobbies..hmm.   Why not?

Did you know that January is National Hobby Month?   Hmm, I wonder why?  A new hobby can help the restlessness that comes with experiencing cabin fever.  Book clubs, art classes, online classes, learning a new language are a great way to pass the time during the colder months.  Taking the time to work on unfinished projects may not be beneficial as a hobby.  Work projects often are never finished; thereby creating more daily stress. Hobbies provide a focused time of enjoyment and relieve everyday stress to increase better health and mood. 

Travel to warmer climates

While this may not be an option for everyone, one thing that can help in the dire midst of winter is traveling warmer climates for a break.   The temperatures may not be summertime, they will be warmer than below freezing.  Even just a few days away from the bitter cold can bring a sense of respite to the soul.  Warmer climates remind us that more pleasant weather is just around the corner; helping us to breathe a sigh of relief that soon we can finish this chapter of the winter season.

Embrace rather than resist to beat the winter blues

Sometimes there is a victory in just trying to find the good in an undesirable situation.  The cold is going to stick around for a while, so perhaps the best way to beat the winter blues is to embrace it.  The stillness and quiet of a newly fallen snow can be peaceful.  The chill in the air can be revitalizing.  Sure it requires more layers of clothing than summer, but getting outside can be just as enjoyable in the winter.   Have unmet resolutions?   Rather than self criticize for eating that sweet or for sleeping instead of exercising, recommit to eating healthy at the next meal or the next opportunity.  For some reason, resisting undesirable circumstances seem to require more energy than acceptance of them.  What can you do embrace winter rather than resist it?

If you’re struggling with the winter blahs, then getting outdoor and exercising may help boots your mood.  Meeting new people and learning a new hobby can improve your lifestyle and feel more connected to others.  Traveling to a warmer climate may be just the anecdote you need to remind you that spring is coming soon.  And a commitment to embrace and accommodate winter’s offerings can help to chase away hassles of the winter blues.