Whether you’ve been formally diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or just find that the winter months get you down, it can be difficult to make it through the colder weather when you don’t feel all happy and cheery inside.
While the cold blistery rain, snow and ice is almost a definite this time of year, the winter blues are completely optional.
In fact, here are seven effective ways to make winter pleasurable and something you actually look forward to.
#1: Use it as an excuse to snuggle
Not that you need an excuse to snuggle with your one and only, but winter just seems like the perfect reason. Grab a blanket, cup of hot chocolate and settle in on the couch to watch a comedy or two.
Even if you give in and watch his shoot ‘em up adventure flicks, at least you can enjoy some much needed ‘us’ time.
In addition to the fact that it just feels good to be close, the physical warmth will make the days not seem so cold because you’re less susceptible to depressive feelings when your body temperature is closer to normal. So, let his body heat radiate your way to help improve your sad feelings.
#2: Do wintery things you enjoy
Most people use winter as an excuse to hibernate and do nothing other than look forward to spring, but that way of thinking will only contribute to your seasonal blues. You’re better off finding wintery things that you enjoy doing so that you actually look forward to the snow flying and cold wind blowing.
Some great winter past times include snowmobiling, snowshoeing, skiing, and ice skating.
You can also build snowmen and snow animals and create your own winter wonderland right in your front yard. Spray them with colored water to make them stand out and let your kids get creative with different hats, scarves and other accessories to make them cute, goofy, weird and more.
#3: Kick up your exercise routine
One of the major reasons that depression and sadness kick in during winter time is lack of activity. Summertime is full of yard work, landscaping, picnics and sports, but winter time usually involves doing nothing more than staying inside while you watch the snow fall – which causes your mood to fall as well.
You can stop the winter blues simply by kicking up your exercise routine, which for most people means starting one. You’ll begin to feel better about yourself, which boosts your mood instantly. Plus, the endorphins that exercise releases act as a natural anti-depressant.
Besides, if you start getting in shape when fall and winter hit, your New Year’s resolution doesn’t have to be so hefty and you’ll be ready for the next summer to show off your hot new body!
#4: Get as much sunshine as you can
The rays of the sun help your body create vitamin D which not only improves your health overall, but it also raises your serotonin levels which makes you feel happier too. That’s probably part of the reason that summer months are more fun because you get more quality rays soaking into your skin which elevates your cheeriness.
Although you certainly have no control over the sun, you can try and get more rays in the winter months by going outside even for a few minutes a day for direct sunlight.
You can also open the shades in your house during the day and let the light shine in because the more you get, the better you’ll feel!
#5: Eat yourself happy
While you may think that this means soothing your sadness with junk food, it actually means the complete opposite. If you let yourself gorge on high calorie, high fat foods until next spring, you’re going to gain weight and feel bad about yourself, adding to your already depressed mood.
Additionally, eating a lot of sugary and starchy foods will send your blood sugar on a roller coaster, which is what your moods will do as well. You’ll experience severe highs and lows, making this time of year extra difficult on you mentally.
Stick to a healthy diet full of lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, fruits and veggies and you’ll feel better for it. There’s no need in making matters worse and that is exactly what an unhealthy diet will do.
#6: Plan a mid-winter vacation
If spring and summer seem like an eternity away, bring them a little closer to you by planning a mid-winter vacation to someplace warm. It is a great way to break up the cold winter months and give you something to look forward to.
Even if you can’t afford a tropical destination, try to at least go somewhere. Sometimes a change of scenery is enough to help you ease your mid-winter blues.
#7: Seek help
If you’ve tried everything and nothing seems to relieve your sadness, you may benefit from seeking professional help. Find a counselor or therapist that you trust and let them help you find your way out of the depression and so you can return to enjoying life once again.
There is no shame in not dealing with this issue yourself. Outsiders often have a clearer perspective and when you go to a professional, they have a whole bag of tips and tricks they can teach you to help you ease your angst.
Don’t let the winter blues sideline you from enjoying life. Try these suggestions and you’ll be happy all year long.