How to Beat the Winter Blues

Two Male Friends Meeting In Busy Coffee Shop

The rush and excitement of the holidays have passed, but the cold, gloomy weather is still here to stay a while-at least in New England.  These short, dark days can sometimes make it hard to stay cheery and bright, and often leave us wanting to hide under the covers in bed all day.

What exactly is it that makes us feel so low during these cold winter months? Lack of sunshine during this portion of the year can cause some people to experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This is thought to be a hormonal imbalance in our brain due to seasonal changes.  It might include feeling down, having low energy or fatigue, having trouble concentrating, or sometimes having a hard time sleeping.  SAD does not affect everyone, but for some, it can make the fall and winter months quite a challenge.

While we can’t control the weather, what we can do, is try to take control of our mood.  Here’s a list of a few wintertime suggestions to help lift your spirits when the weather brings you down:

  1. Socialize! Get out there and mingle with your best buds or family members.  Chances are, you’re not the only one feeling blue.  Studies show that “talk therapy,” or talking about our thoughts and feelings even if it’s just with friends, can help soothe and heal us if we’re feeling down.
  1. Soak up some of that winter sun. Whether it’s opening the curtains in your bedroom to let the sunshine in, or getting outside for a quick walk, find some sun wherever you can get it. You can still get sunburn in the winter so remember to apply broad spectrum sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) 15 minutes before you go outside.
  1. Move your body more. Increasing your physical activity and getting some exercise increases your endorphins (“feel good hormones”) and naturally boosts your mood! Whether you’re bundling up to go outside for a brisk jog, heading to the gym, or having a dance party in your room, this is one of the best ways to warm yourself up. What could be better than a bright energy boost on a gloomy day!?
  1. Get Creative. A chilly afternoon cooped up inside might be the perfect opportunity to make that photo scrapbook you’ve been thinking about for months, or maybe it’s time to learn how to knit that scarf you’ve always thought about making.  Maybe you want to pull out that sketchbook you’ve neglected for a few years.  Let your creative side shine! Put on some upbeat tunes in the background and have a blast.
  1. Get cozy. Embrace the chilly temperatures, and plan for a low-key day at home. Find a great book that you just can’t put down, or watch your favorite old movie.  Make yourself a big cup of tea or hot chocolate, and snuggle up on the couch under a warm blanket, or take a hot bath.  Sometimes a cozy, relaxing day in can be just what you need.

Hang on, stay warm, and before you know it, spring will be here!

– Sarah