The winter blues are very common, with many of us experiencing a mood shift during the colder, darker days of winter. You may have found yourself feeling more lethargic and down these past few months. Well, let me tell you something, you are not alone! And although you may feel more gloomy than usual, the winter blues typically don’t hinder your ability to enjoy life.
Winter days are short, the temperature is quite fluctuating and the daily routine cycle gets disrupted which causes pretty bad situations like winter blues. The medical name for winter depression is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). The symptoms typically include :
- Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates
- Weight gain
- Tiredness or low energy
If these winter blues during the short and dark days are pulling you away from the bright and happy world then, just like me, you may be looking for a solution, here are the simple ways I managed to stay happier this winter.
I made it a goal to get out more, no matter how I was feeling :
I found that one of the reasons why I felt more sad and depressed during the cold, dark months was because I decided to wrap myself up in bed, instead of going out to enjoy the minimal sunlight I had, and find great winter activities to involve myself in. I can’t say its very easy to do, but its so important to get outside whenever the sun is out (or not) during these winter days. Take a walk outside whenever you can, play with your friends or family members in the snow or try an outdoor winter activity like snowshoeing, skiing or ice-skating. Exposing yourself to natural light will help boost serotonin production and your overall mood.
I set manageable tasks to accomplish each day :
Simple activities, even if they were just chores, were enough to get me moving and getting up and about and left me feeling accomplished enough. Don’t overwhelm yourself with lists of projects and a lot of chores just because you can’t do other activities you might spend time doing in other seasons. Small things like cleaning the floor, meal prepping or even getting laundry done are sometimes enough to make you feel accomplished and competent without making you feel overwhelmed which will increase stress and then lead to depression and then you’re back to wrapping yourself up in bed (back to square one, sigh).
I found a hobby I loved and used it as a healthy distraction :
Aka, photography. With the help of a good friend, I practiced and fell more in love with photography and photo editing. Because photography requires me to go out and find the beauty in whatever I see around me, I was able to kill many birds with one stone : I walked A LOT, I captured many beautiful moments, I was always distracted when editing, and I learned new skills.
Plan Vacations or Staycations :
“As verbs, the difference between vacation and staycation is that vacation is to spend or take a vacation while staycation is (neologism. intransitive) to spend a vacation close to home.” – WikiDiff
Sometimes winter blues bother us more because of the monotonous and repetitive lifestyle we happen to find ourselves in. Thats why sometimes, it is important to bring a change in your routine and planning out a vacation or a staycation is a good idea. There are many attractions and opportunities that open up during the time of winter and it can be a good idea to explore them. It doesn’t matter if it is close to home or on a different continent, the goal is to switch up the usual routine.Most people get a lift when they have something to look forward to.
I checked my food intake; what I ate and how I ate :
Winter makes us eat more. Colder temperatures, fewer daylight hours, and more time spent inside can all have a significant effect on when, how much, and even what we’re hungry for. For me, – and I think for a lot of people too– I crave sweets and loads of carbs. It was tough but checking my food intake was very crucial. Instead of cutting out everything, I incorporated more veggies, protein and had soups for dinner, a lot! I did indulge once in a while by drinking hot chocolates, coffee and eating lots of croissants. The important thing is balance, right?