Winter is weird. The first half of it is so lovely with Christmas lights and eating delicious food and seeing my family. The second half staring mid-January is full of sad feels, wind, below freezing temperatures and uh tax season. I don’t really perk up until April rolls around, giving me January through March with a consistently blue feeling lingering around.
I won’t get into the science of it all, but many doctor’s recognize this feeling as seasonal depression. To me, it feels more like a lack of connectivity to the Earth and the Sun and living things. I don’t want to go outside much and the majority of things that make me feel really happy seem to exist in warmer months (there’s only just so much hot cocoa I can drink before my stomach is poofing over my pants and my body is craving iced tea).
I’ve compiled up a few tips that I have found that seem to help me a lot lately, I hope they help you out too if you get the winter blues!
1. Get Sunlight
Step outside, even if it’s cold and let your body soak in the small amount of Vitamin D you can get in the winter months. I find that being outside even when it’s not sunny still helps me. I bundle up as much as I can and try and go on mindful walks. I will sit by a lake and feed some ducks or take a mug of coffee out onto my porch and watch the sunset if I am feeling blue. Close your eyes and recognize the specific scents and sounds around you. Reset. Take that, winter blues!
2. Work On Personal Projects
Since I don’t really want to get out and about much at this time of year, I have taken to spending most of my free time developing business ideas, revamping my portfolio, organizing my home and sorting through old photos. Focus on bettering yourself at this time!
Streeeeeetch! Stretching is so good for you and yoga is the ultimate stretch. If you already work out, incorporate it into your routine – especially some restorative class! If you don’t work out, think of yoga as the ramping up to a spring work out routine. Try and go at least 1-2 times per week and think of yoga as a reward to yourself for making it through another week of the cold and dark season.
4. Make Plans
One of my favorite things to do in the winter is start making lists of everything I want to do once it gets warm! For example:
- Go on a roadtrip
- Finally have a BBQ with friends at my apartment
- Paint my dresser
- Plant an herb garden
- Visit a theme park
- Learn how to make some new cocktails
- Go on a vacation to some place tropical
See? Feeling pretty happy about life already. Look up vacation packages for May or start collecting recipes for yummy summer cocktails.
5. Eat Well
Don’t get too tempted to continue eating like it’s the holidays! Try to cook 5-6 nights out of the week and eat complex proteins (like beans and rice or quinoa as a staple) in your diet. Also, now is a great time to get back into portion control. The holidays make our tummies stretch out and if you can get back into eating like it’s the summer well before summer comes around, you’ll be in a good place! I try and eat seasonally, so I recommend roasted squash (easy on the oil though), veggie based soups and fruit salads for dessert. Oh have you guys ever had quinoa in your yogurt? Try putting a few spoonfuls into your Greek yogurt in the morning and you’ll be full for longer!
6. Get Crafty
One of my favorite winter activities is making crafts. This week I’ve been working on my own small collection or pillow mists (I’ve been reading about aromatherapy!), and researching how to make my own teas. I really want to learn about herbs and their properties and flavors. To get my hands moving and my mind inspired I am working on jewelry this year! It’s a really fun hobby to pick up. I’m also trying my hand at calligraphy, which has turned out to be incredibly challenging but fun!
7. Watch Some Bad TV
I’ve recently picked up a slight addiction to really cheesy drama tv. It has made this past month of dull grey so much more bearable. I can enjoy silly characters who have way more personal issues than me while working on making logos or jewelry on my couch. Hallelujah!
8. Clean Things
This one is big for me. I get so lazy in the winter and my apartment always starts looking more and more like a rat’s nest full of trash and dust. Keeping my home clean gives me goals, passes the time and makes everything feel so much lighter and more comfortable. Make it a routine! I try and maintain one room each day of the week. Today I am going to be sweeping, mopping and dusting my living room. Tomorrow it will be my basement that gets some TLC.
9. Do Stuff For Other People
Try baking a batch of cookies, wrapping them, making a handmade card and surprising a few of your friends by delivering them to their doors. It will help you to stop getting stuck mentally and to think about someone you love. It will probably help brighten up their days too!
10. Start A Club Or Group
Now is the time to start that book club or band practice or running club that you have been meaning to start. Get around other people and give yourself some purpose in the day. I love short-term weekly goals like “practice my harmonica” or “read a few chapters”. Make it feel like a reward to yourself than a chore. Try and mentally use the phrase “I get to hang out with friends!” versus “I have to read a book”. I think the positive stance will make you enjoy things a bit more.
What do you guys do to stay cheery in the bummer months? For more ideas, I seriously loved this article on how to have a better day!