It’s cold, the days are shorter, and it’s harder to feel motivated to take care of ourselves this time of the year. In fact, many of us experience the “winter blues” or Seasonal Affective Disorder. The combination of spending more time inside and reduced daily sunshine may make our moods suffer.
How can we make ourselves feel better in the winter? Here are some tips for fighting the winter blues.
Get outside as much as possible.
No matter the time of year, being outdoors is an important mood lifter. In fact, moving in nature can lower blood pressure and stress, enhance the immune system, and increase mood. Plus, it helps us get more Vitamin D which keeps our energy levels up.
Take advantage of the sunshine that we do get by scheduling an outdoor walk in the middle of the day.
Although you may feel less motivated to make it to the gym in the winter, keep up with your favorite type of exercise. Exercise releases endorphins which gives us an automatic mood boost. It also relieves stress and helps you sleep better. Even 15 minutes of exercise a day can help. Keep moving through the winter!
Try a sunlight therapy lamp.
A sunlight therapy lamp mimics outdoor light. It is thought that this type of light may lift your mood and ease symptoms of the winter blues. There are a variety of sunlight therapy lamps to choose from. According to mayoclinic.org, a light box should:
- Provide an exposure to 10,000 lux of light
- Produce as little UV light as possible
You will want to use light therapy in the morning for 20 to 30 minutes.
Engage in self care.
Engaging in self care activities benefits your overall health and might be just what you need to help in fighting the winter blues. Practicing self care:
- Reduces stress
- Improves mental health
- Improves relationships
- Increases ability to adapt to changes and recover from setbacks
- Helps achieve more balance in life
Try this self care bingo printable. Self care ideas on this bingo game are easy to accomplish and can be adjusted to meet your personal health goals. Make time for yourself with these self care activities. They will boost your mood and give you something to look forward to.
Continue to keep up with your social schedule.
Even though you may feel like staying home, continue to gather with friends and family. It can lighten your mood and remind you that you are not alone. Laughing with people you love is good for your heart and your soul.
- Get coffee with a friend
- Take an exercise class with a friend
- Schedule a date night out of the house
- Continue to participate in clubs, church, and other group activities
Try to focus on the positive aspects of winter. Beautiful snow, time to cuddle with those you love, and more time for indoor hobbies. Make an effort to keep those winter blues at bay by trying out some of these tips.
“If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.”- Jack Kornfield