The shorter days and lower temperatures during the winter months can make anyone feel a little down, especially in the months of January and February when Christmas is over and spring still feels a long way off. If you find yourself feeling a little down this winter, then check out these eight ways to fight off the Winter Blues.
1. Take Vitamin D.
Did you know there’s a clinical name for the Winter Blues? It’s called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), and most health care professionals believe it’s related to a Vitamin D deficiency caused by not getting enough sunlight. If you tend to get down in the winter months, ask your doctor about checking your Vitamin D level and/or taking a Vitamin D supplement.
2. Plan a trip.
Despite how far away it seems now, spring break is just around the corner, so plan a trip that you can look forward to, even if it’s just a staycation or weekend camping trip. Looking ahead will help you keep perspective when it feels like winter will never end.
3. Take on a new project or hobby.
Winter is the perfect time to tackle those indoor projects that you never get around to doing – things like re-painting or reorganizing. It’s also a great time to take on a new hobby like photography, redoing furniture, or learning to cook.
4. Make time to exercise.
Many people give up on their new year’s resolutions for better health, and then they feel even more depressed. Instead of giving up, it’s better to tweak your resolution to something that’s more doable. For example, if you said you were going to work out for five days a week and you haven’t been doing that then just scale back to three days a week (or even 2). Remember that some exercise is better than no exercise. Plus, exercise releases endorphins, which triggers positive feelings and helps fight off depression.
5. Connect with friends.
Get out your calendar and plan at least one fun evening (at least once a week) whether it’s dinner with friends, or book club, or signing up for a pottery or painting class. This will give you something to look forward to each week.
6. Laugh a lot.
Did you know that laughing can lower your blood pressure and reduce stress and anxiety? Get your daily dose of laughter whether by watching a comedy on Netflix or watching hilarious dog and cat videos (like this video of cat riding a Roomba while dressed like a shark and entertaining a baby (also dressed like a shark). Hey, whatever does the trick and makes you laugh!
7. Get at least 8 hours of sleep.
Make it a priority to get the right amount of sleep each night, even if it means going to bed earlier (and not binge watching one more show). When you get the right amount of sleep you’ll be less moody and more productive the next day.
8. Seek professional help if necessary.
Finally, remember that there’s a fine line between the Winter Blues and clinical depression, so if you find yourself more than just a little down, you should consult your doctor or seek help from mental health professional.