Beat the winter bluesWinter can be a difficult time of the year. The lower amount of sunlight and brisk temperatures can make people want to hibernate all winter. The Crisis and Trauma Resource Institute defines winter blues as mild depression with symptoms of low energy and lack of motivation. We have a few more weeks left in this winter season, so let’s try to embrace it! Our mindset is a powerful tool to harness. Bring your awareness to how you speak and think about these final chilly weeks. This cold weather brings hot beverages, snow, crackling fires, and peace. Try the following six tips to help you thrive in these final months of cold. and beat the winter blues.

  1. Keep moving 

Keep moving and grooving! The cold can make people want to bundle up and stay still but this doesn’t help the winter experience. Any amount of movement is excellent but attempt at least 30 minutes a day. Regular exercise can be as effective as antidepressants in fighting mild depression and increasing your alertness. Are you tired of your workout routine? Try switching up what ‘working out’ looks like by trying something completely new.

  1. Soak up the sun 

Getting outside, especially mid-day when it is the sunniest with natural daylight. This is the best kind of sunlight one can get, sun with fresh air. Stuck inside? Open the shades to allow the natural light to reflect into your space. Sit in front of your window. Another great option is using a light therapy box. A light therapy box can give off a light at least 10 times brighter than ordinary lights in your home and offices. The light mimics natural daylight which releases brain chemicals linked to your mood. If your experience a difficult time waking up in the mornings during winter, try a dawn simulator that attaches to your lights and slowly raises the lights as you wake up. This simulates the sun rising. Due to the time change, we experience less sunlight in the early morning which could impact energy levels and sleep patterns. 

  1. Bring the vibe 

The cold can bring a level of sadness with it due to the lowered serotonin levels. Serotonin is a chemical your brain produces that helps reduce anxiety and depression, increase focus, regulate sleep, and stabilizes mood. Create yourself a winter oasis filled with warmth and comfort. Keep your home and yourself warm with cozy blankets, sweaters, and hot drinks. Open your blinds and let the light reflect into your space. Maybe even try a suncatcher in your window to shine bright! Or Incorporate plants to bring nature to you. 

  1. Try a new activity / Give something new a try 

Winter can be a great opportunity to try a new hobby. Hobbies can lower stress, manage low moods and keep your mind active. Find something that excites you and lights a fire within. Finding the right hobby or activity is important. Ask your friends what hobbies they enjoy and ask if they could teach you. Another way to figure out which hobby will be best for you is to reflect on activities that you might have tried when you were young. 

  1. Be Social 

Don’t hibernate- be sure to see your friends and family. Socializing is great for your mental health! Schedule it as a commitment, just as you would with doctors’ appointments. Truly try to stay in touch with people you enjoy. Make a list of people who are supportive and caring to contact if

you start to feel down during winter. If this sounds overwhelming then start small, try accepting an invite, and only stay for a while. Try sharing with a trusted friend and ask for support. 

  1. Seek help 

Winter is a great time to schedule a yearly check-up with your primary care doctor. Get your vitamin D levels checked as this is often impacted by winter. Keeping your mind healthy is important, but we can’t forget about the body. The physical body needs to be looked after as well. One’s diet has an impact on your health, both physically and mentally. Cooking meals can be a great way to bring comfort to your winter nights.

If you start to notice changes in your mood, difficulty getting out of bed, or if you notice the winter blues are so bad that they impact your normal life function then contact a therapist or support. Therapy can help you cope and make symptoms more manageable. Don’t suffer alone, we are here to help!