“I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape – the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show.” ~Andrew Wyeth
December rolled in yesterday and with it rolled in some flurries here in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
I have been dreading winter! As I was walking to work, I decided it was time to get over this. To embrace Michigan and it’s cold winter. I then did a little research and came up with 25 tips to beat the Winter Blues. If you have one that I missed, then add it in the comments.
***Keep in mind, that I am not a doctor and these are just for mood boosting tips and are NOT for treating serious depression. For serious depression, see your doctor.
25. Let Yourself Hibernate Happily
You don’t have to fight it! Go with it. Winter is the time for the plants to die off and for animals to hibernate. Cut yourself some slack and do some resting yourself. Take a nap when you are tired, sleep in on the weekends, hole up inside where it is warm, and don’t beat yourself up about gaining a few pounds.
24. Avoid Excess Drinking
Fight the urge to sip on some whiskey to warm up your belly as drinking less alcohol will help you feel better this winter time. Alcohol is a depressant and drinking to much is not going to help you feel better (or stay warmer). Go for some tea instead!
23. Take Off Your Sunglasses
Lose your shades and it will pick up your spirits. The more sun that you can absorb the better.
22. Eat Less Sugar
Sugar kills your energy levels in the long run, so cut down on the hot chocolates and cookies.
Lose yourself and your troubles by helping another. There is more of a need for volunteers in the winter time so get out and see where you can help.
20. Wear Bright Colors
When I am feeling blue, I like to switch it up and dress as nicely as I can. Try wearing bright colors for the added psychological effect.
19. Throw a Beach Party
Spice up your winter time fun with a beach party at your house. Tell your pals to wear their bathing suits (under their winter coats, of course), crank up the heat at your house, dust off your best Bob Marley CD, make up some fancy drinks with umbrellas (don’t drink too many though, see tip #24), and if you are feeling sporty throw in a snow angel contest for the hearty.
18. Start a Yoga or Meditation Practice
Both yoga or meditation are great for decreasing depression and anxiety levels. Find a local class in your area or buy a DVD and get a friend to commit with you.
17. Turn Off the TV & Pick up a Book
Use your extra time indoors to dive into a book that you have always wanted to read but never have the time (maybe a huge one like Moby Dick or Crime and Punishment).
16. Buy a Warm Hooded Sweater
I was given a hooded, cashmere sweater by an old girlfriend of mine and I swear it helps improve my winter time mood. At Thanksgiving my Aunt couldn’t stop talking about these fleece PJ’s that she had recently bought. Maybe you need one really nice piece of warm clothing, that will kick your winter time blues away whenever you put it on.
15. Clean your Basement/Closet/Garage
Use your time inside to clean an area of your house that you have neglected for way too long. De-cluttering is an easy way to improve your mood.
14. Learn a New Skill
I’m going to learn how to swing Fire Poi this winter. Hit the library or Google what you have been wanting to learn and get cracking.
13. Treat Yourself
Be good to yourself at least once a week and get yourself something that you enjoy.
12. Spend More Time With A Friend
Choose one or two of your friends and really make an effort to get to know them better this winter time. Do fun indoor things or get outdoors and enjoy the snow.
11. Embrace the Season
Find at least one thing to love about winter. I am going to go for making the biggest, best snowman once we get a good ‘snowman’ snow.
10. Start on one of your New Year’s Resolutions
Do you remember last New Year’s, when you made all those promises to yourself? Well, you have less than a month, so make some headway on one of them.
9. Exercise Regularly
Exercise is a great way to beat depression and it is no different in the winter time. Get creative on your type of exercise, by either going to a gym and mixing up your training OR finding an outdoor activity you enjoy like cross country skiing, hiking, or pelting your little sister with snowballs.
8. Head South for a Vacation
If it’s good enough for the birds, then it is good enough for me. Plan yourself a short winter vacation and spend a lot of time basking in the sunlight. If you have flexible days off, you could get a ticket from Detroit to Cancun for less than 320$ (I just looked into this). Or just take a short road trip south (maybe stick out your thumb) for a week and enjoy the heat. (I’m heading to New Orleans myself after Christmas).
7. Eat Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Eat some mackerel, herring, wild salmon, canola oil, or walnuts and boost your omega-3 fatty acids. These are known to decrease depression and elevate your mood.
6. Eat Your Vitamins
Supplementing Vitamin D3 at 400 IU (the liquid form is best) and Vitamin B-Complex at 50 mg will help bump up your vitamins that are lacking with less sunlight.
5. Buy a Light Therapy Lamp
These lamps simulate the effect of sunlight and could be for you, if you spend a lot of time indoors. Here are a few links to some lamps that seem to be the best on Amazon. I haven’t used them myself, but a quick read should teach you all you need to know. If you do happen to get one, a small chunk of change will be sent my way.
4. Get Outside!
Absorb as much sunlight as you can and if you can combine that with some exercise this is a great way to beat winter depression.
3. Eat a Healthy Diet
Get your fruits and vegetables. Eat complex carbohydrates. Drink 8 glasses of water a day. Avoid sugar and other processed foods. Diet has a large influence on how you feel.
2. Change Your Light Bulbs
Full spectrum light bulbs provide similar light as the Light Therapy lamp, yet you can put them in other lamps around your house. These are a cheaper alternative than the Light Therapy lamp and provide a similar experience.
1. Dress Warm
If you dress properly for the winter elements, then you will enjoy what winter has to offer more. Get some warm boots, a good coat, gloves, and a hat. Layer up your clothing, making sure to have a base layer of long underwear. Splurge on some good winter clothing and you will be happy you did later on.
Create Our World,
“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.” ~Edith Sitwell