As the days get shorter and the weather gets colder, many people find that their mood and energy levels dip. It’s normal to have days during winter where you feel down. Here are some strategies to beat the winter blues and start feeling your best.
Soak up some sun. Getting sunlight can boost your mood and make you feel more energized. If that’s not possible, sit by a window to enjoy some natural light or consider investing in a sun lamp.
Get your eating back on track. Who doesn’t want comfort food when it’s cold outside? Try to find lighter versions of your favorites.
Take on a project. If you’re like most people, there’s no end to the things that need to get done. Whether it’s cleaning or focusing on a personal goal, there’s always something that needs to get done. While it may seem difficult, picking one of these things and getting started can help you improve your mood. The sense of accomplishment that comes with finishing can make you feel more optimistic and energetic.
Reach out to friends. Humans need social connection. Catch up with someone you haven’t seen in a while or organize a get-together with a few people. Having the company and support of others can help you feel more motivated to do other things.
Get into exercise. Engaging in physical activity is a great way to boost your mood and energy levels. Bundling up for a brisk walk outside can provide a change of scenery and some time in the sun. If that’s not appealing, you have many indoor options. Try a workout video online, do some calisthenics, or play fetch with your dog. It’s OK to start small if you’re feeling sluggish. Commit to 10 minutes to start, then try to see if you can do that three times a day.
Talk to your doctor. If these strategies don’t work, or you feel down for more than a few days, you may be suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD). If that sounds familiar, you aren’t alone. In fact, an estimated 25 percent of Americans suffer from SAD. Symptoms often begin in September and last through March or April. Treatments for SAD vary. You and your doctor can determine what the best course of action is for you.
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- Beat the winter blues: Shedding light on seasonal sadness. NIH News in Health. January 2013. Accessed January 11, 2021. https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2013/01/beat-winter-blues
- Seasonal affective disorder. National Institute of Mental Health. No date. Accessed January 11, 2021. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/seasonal-affective-disorder/index.shtml
- Seasonal affective disorder: More than the winter blues. American Psychological Association. 2014. Accessed February 10, 2021. https://www.apa.org/topics/depression/seasonal-affective-disorder