If you’re anything like me, you absolutely hate the winter. Let’s be real, winter is not fun. It’s cold, dark and sometimes snowy. Not to mention the fact that it goes on for what feels like years. The days are short and nights are long and winter just seems never-ending.
It’s easy for people to slip into a boring routine in the winter just because they simply don’t feel like doing anything other than what they absolutely need to do. Who feels like going out after a day at work when it’s -7 degrees? I sure don’t. All I want is to go home, get in my bed, and never leave again.
The only good thing about winter is the holidays and once those are over, whats the point? With that being said, a lot of people find themselves with a case of the winter blues around this time of year. The holidays are over, it’s freezing, everyone is giving up on their resolutions and it’s really just not a good time.
If you have the winter blues and don’t see yourself making it through these next few months until the glorious days of summer, don’t worry. You’re not alone and I’m here to help you (and hopefully myself) get through these dark, long winter months! Here are some things you can do to make winter a little more enjoyable, or at least to just survive.
1. Brighten up your environment
Winter seems like a really dark cold couple of months and the darkness in the outside world can easily get in your head and make your entire being feel just as dark. Studies show that sitting next to an artificial light or lightbox for 30 minutes a day can be just as effective as an anti-depressant. If you don’t have access to a lightbox, open up the blinds, sit near the windows or leave your front door open and let the sunlight in. Letting natural light illuminate your house might just work wonders.
2. Eat smart
Food can play a huge part in your mood. Eating a lot of carbs and will temporarily increase your good mood but then cause it to drop, inevitably making you feel worse in the long run. Eating chocolate, for example, can help increase your good mood and even relieve anxiety. Just in case you needed another reason to eat chocolate, there you go.
Exercising helps your brain to produce serotonin, ultimately boosting your mood after the workout. A 2005 study from Harvard University suggests walking at a fast pace for 35 minutes a day, five days a week can improve symptoms of mild to moderate depression. According to a preliminary study, exercising under bright lights improved general mental health, social functioning and depression symptoms.
4. Plan a vacation
Who doesn’t love a vacation? I’m convinced a good vacation (especially to the beach) can help fix anything. Even if you can’t plan an extravagant island getaway, plan a quick weekend trip. Get out of your routine for a day or two and recharge. A change of scenery can work wonders for the mind.
5. Take vitamin D supplements
Maybe you can’t spend the day on the beach and soak up some vitamin D, but you can take supplements to make sure your body is still getting what it needs. A study from NYU Langone Health showed that taking vitamin D supplements improved peoples moods.
6. Stay social
Although hibernating in bed until April might sound like the most tempting thing in the world, it’s probably better for you to force yourself to stay social. It might feel great to lay around all day in bed, but getting up, getting dressed and being productive is definitely going to make you feel better in the long run.
7. Keep a strict sleep schedule
Sure, sleeping until noon might sound great, but you’ll only feel guilty about it at the end of the day. Making the most out of your day will definitely help you stay ahead of the winter blues.
8. Limit caffeine intake
Even though it may seem like caffeine is the only thing that will get you out of bed, caffeine spikes your insulin levels and drops your blood sugar levels, contributing to a sense of fatigue. That’s pretty much guaranteed to make you feel exhausted.