Winter, with its fresh air, variety of outdoor activities, and cozy apparel, can be enjoyable, and a lot of people do actually love it, even if they pretend otherwise. However, it's also possible to feel confined and uninspired during this time of year. Suffering from the winter blues is something that really does happen, and it could mean that you're feeling unmotivated to do anything, go anywhere, or improve things for yourself.
Don't get into the habit of not doing anything; even if you're feeling down, there are things you can improve on. Changing up your daily routine can help you feel better and happy again. The good news is that it's not hard to get back on your feet when winter has caused you to feel bad. Try these tips, and you might be able to say goodbye to the winter blues.
8 Ways to Feel Happier During Winter
1. Visit a Therapist
You might assume that the only people who should go to a therapist are those who have been diagnosed with some particular and specific mental health problem. However, although therapy will indeed help those people, you don’t have to have been diagnosed with anything or even be suffering from anything to get some benefit out of visiting a therapist. It could just be that talking to a professional because you’re feeling down is enough to help you feel better and move on, winter or not.
Think about it this way; we go to see our doctor every year, our dentist twice a year, our optometrist every couple of years, and so on, and we do this even if (usually if) there is nothing wrong at all. So why shouldn’t it be the same when it comes to taking care of our mental health? The fact that this kind of therapy can help when it comes to the winter blues is definitely a benefit, of course, but the more people who see a therapist regularly, the more people can get the help they didn’t realize they needed.
2. Use Seasonal Ingredients In Your Cooking
It can be easy to fall into the trap of winter comfort foods that are actually bad for you. They might make you feel good for a little while, especially if you have the winter blues, but overall, they’ll cause problems with your weight and happiness.
This is why it’s a good idea to use seasonal ingredients in your cooking. When you use fresh ingredients that are only available at this time of year, cooking becomes a fun experiment rather than a chore, and you’ll be more interested in finding out how to use these items (and what they are) than bypassing them all for unhealthy food.
3. Turn On The Lights
The more light you can get during the winter, the better. It's a wonderful way to fight off the blues. Melatonin is the hormone that makes you sleepy, and both natural light and specially designed sun lamps keep your body from making too much of it. This means that you will have more energy to use.
On cloudy days, a lightbox can make your room and your mood feel like the sun is shining. They also help you sleep and wake up at regular times. Lightbox bulbs give off 20 times more light than regular bulbs and put out very little UV radiation. Choose one with at least 10,000 lux and use it for 30 minutes in the morning.
You can also go outside more. This might not seem like a great idea when you consider winter temperatures (and the temperature might be the thing that is causing you the most stress), but once you do it, you’ll find that you feel better a lot of the time. This is due to the fact that you’re able to breathe in the fresh air, get exercise, and get a good dose of vitamin D from the sunlight.
Remember, though, that you should stock up on sunscreen online and wear it every time you go outside. Just because the sun doesn’t feel too hot or strong doesn’t mean harmful UV rays aren’t damaging your skin. Make it a habit to wear sunscreen all year round and get the most out of the sun every day.
4. Exercise More
Exercising is widely known to be excellent at relieving stress and revitalizing the body and mind. Therefore, it is crucial to maintain an exercise routine throughout the colder months. Start slow and work up to 30-60 minutes of exercise five days a week if you aren't already active. Alternate between cardiovascular exercise, weight training, and stretching.
The 10-10-10 approach is great for times you don't have a whole 30 minutes to devote to working out. Walk for ten minutes at a time, three times a day. Spend as much time as possible outside. Soak up as much sunlight as possible to reap these rewards, as we mentioned above.
5. Phone A Friend
Amazingly, research has shown that a person's physical health and longevity are more directly affected by the quality of their friendships than by the quality of their marriage or other partnerships.
Your daily mood can also be affected by your friendships. Call a friend or arrange to meet them somewhere to experience an instant uptick in your mood. If you can’t see them in person, try a video call, and as a last resort, a text exchange can also help. The point is, if you’re feeling down during the winter months, keeping in touch with the people you love most will make you feel a lot better.
6. Keep A Journal
If you've ever written in a journal, you know how much fun it can be. But it can also help when you don't feel like doing much – just like when you're experiencing the winter blues. The great thing about jotting your thoughts down in a journal is that you don’t actually have to stick to a specific format. You can do anything as long as it’s creative. Why not draw a sketch, paint a picture, or write a poem? Put these things inside your journal and do it regularly – every day is ideal, but once a week might work too.
If you’re feeling stuck about what to write in your journal, try gratitude. Think of one thing every day that you’re grateful for and write that down. Not only will this improve your mood at the time, but when you’re feeling down in the future, you’ll be able to leaf through your journal and see all the positive things that have happened to you and around you.
7. Keep Up With Your Hobbies
When it's cold outside, it's easy to give up your hobbies and stay inside under a warm blanket doing nothing at all. The truth is that this is something that can be very beneficial (the doing nothing aspects, at least) because it allows us to re-set, re-energize and rest.
However, don’t let it become a daily habit. If you do that, your hobbies can become entirely forgotten because it’s easier not to do something than it is to do it. Yet having hobbies and enjoying them is so good for you, and they can make you feel better when you’re feeling down. So try to make room for them in your life, and it can make a big difference.
Or why not start a new hobby if you’re not feeling inspired by the ones you currently do? During the winter months, you’ve got the perfect opportunity to do some research and then be ready to start once the new year rolls around.
8. Refresh your home with color
Happy colors are bright, warm colors like yellow, orange, pink and red. Pastel colors like peach, light pink or lilac can also have an uplifting effect on your mood. The brighter and lighter a color, the more happy and optimistic it will make you feel.
Throw pillows, fresh flowers, candles or baskets are a great and simple way to introduce color in your home without overwhelming the room. Use color, pattern and texture to create a sense of renewal. When your home feels happier it will make you feel better too.
What other tips do you have for feeling happier during the winter? Let us know in the comments!
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