Seasonal depression is a real thing. It happens when the sun starts shining a little less and the temperatures start dropping a little more. Have you been wanting to curl up into a ball covered by a mountain of blankets everyday? Have you been catching yourself researching tropical islands to visit or even move to? It’s easy to fall under a spell of sadness from this undesirable weather. So how do we turn these winter blues into something more positive?
Here are a few simple and very effective ways to help you kick the winter blues to the curb and start embracing the cold weather, because as we all know winter is something that happens every year and is not going away anytime soon.
1. Move your body.
During these cold winter months most of us just want to sit inside and watch movies or endlessly scroll Instagram or surf the web for something to amuse us. But as humans our bodies are meant to move.
Just a simple 20 minute walk outside can energize you and increase your mood. Fresh air is a human’s best friend, so take advantage of this cool weather and let the brisk air rejuvenate your mind. There are many other ways you can stay active including yoga, running on the treadmill at the gym, lifting weights, riding your bike, or playing a sport.
One of my favorite ways to stay active is by accomplishing a quick morning tabata workout. This workout gets your heart rate up and can last for 4 minutes or even up to 30 minutes - it’s all up to you. I chose to keep it simple and go for 6 minutes at a time. All you need to do is choose a simple exercise like push ups and do these for 20 seconds, then pick another exercise like lunges and do those for 20 seconds, and so on.
Working out has been proven to release endorphins, which are said to trigger positive feelings in the body so even if you only have a few minutes, staying active will greatly boost your energy levels and make you happier.
2. Start a new hobby
Picking up a new hobby is another effective way to abandon the winter blues. Try something new that you wouldn’t normally do in your day-to-day life.
Cooking is a great hobby to take up during these months. Especially cooking warm, cozy, filling foods like stews, soups, casseroles, pies, and so on. Chicken wild rice soup is one of my winter staples I love to cook! From cooking your own meals you are able to know exactly what is going into your body, you will be able to save money instead of dining out every other night, and a homemade meal is a great way to impress friends or that special someone in your life.
Other hobbies that you could try out would be cozying up and reading books (for fun or educational purposes), learning a new language, drawing, painting, writing, photography, making jewelry, dancing, acting, and learning a musical instrument, just to name a few. The possibilities are endless.
When starting a new hobby I suggest searching the Internet on how to get started or ask friends who have similar interests. Then I would suggest checking out various books on the topics that you want to learn. You can even look up local classes in your community that teach your new hobby. You’ll not only learn a new skill, but you’ll meet like-minded people and make new friends, which is also a great way to distract you from the unwanted weather.
3. Talk it out
Talking about your feelings is another great way that can help relieve this cold weather sadness. Let somebody close to you know how you feel and why you feel this way. They may also be feeling the same things you are so talk it out and get through it together. It’s such a great feeling to have a support system and someone you can openly talk to as well as being that person to someone else. It is also a reminder that you are not alone in this. Don’t be afraid to reach out for some help. We all need a little help every once in awhile.
If you don’t feel comfortable talking to someone or you just don’t have anyone you can talk to then the best way to express your feelings, which has helped me a lot, would be to write. Keep a journal with you and write down how you’re feeling and possible ways that you think you can defeat those feelings. Write down your goals and dreams for the year, or even just that day or week.
The great thing about keeping a journal is that it is something to keep all to yourself. Nobody else has to see it, it’s a place where you talk to yourself and truly be yourself. It is an amazing way to learn about yourself and the world around you.
So are you ready to tackle the winter blues? There is nothing more important than your mental health. So if you are unhappy, do something about it. You must be the one to provide your own light in your darkness. Don’t let yourself be consumed by negative thoughts brought on by the weather.
Remember, you are not in this alone and this too shall pass, but instead of waiting for the birds to start chirping and the flowers to start blooming to feel better, there is no better time than the present. Remember to embrace the winter, move your body, take up a new hobby, and talk about your feelings. We’ll be here supporting you the whole way!