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32 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues

Introduction

What do you think of when winter comes to mind? Holidays? Snow?

Suppose you’re like 10-20% of Americans that get the winter blues. In that case, chances are it’s feeling a lack of energy, motivation, and a sense of dread that the warm weather is gone. This is perfectly normal. Winter forces us inside and takes away sunlight, an essential aspect of a healthy life and mind. The truth is, the winter blues are something you can overcome. All you need is the right steps that will enhance your lifestyle and mental/physical health. Try these 32 steps to survive the winter blues.

Create Your Fall and Winter Survival Plan to beat the winter blues

1. Create Your Fall and Winter Survival Plan

We’ve included this first on purpose. Planning out your fall and winter will reduce the overwhelming feelings that come with this time of year. Create a calendar of things you’ll do daily to keep your physical and mental health in check. Start in September when the days become shorter and continue through April. These actions can include a daily checklist, a list of best practices, or even a schedule of events to go to. The goal of planning is to keep you in motion and doing the things needed to reduce your winter blues.

Take Care of Your Skin to enhance your look, mental health, and diminish winter blues

2. Take Care of Your Skin

We tend to take our skincare routines for granted during the spring and summer seasons. We’re outside more, in contact with sunlight, and get a healthy amount of humidity—all key to healthy skin. Winter months are a different scenario. Our skin becomes dry, more prone to acne, and doesn’t feel as good. And skincare has been linked to helping with mental health. Skin conditions such as acne can lead to lower self-esteem, a sense of helplessness, and depression. Taking care of your skin can help boost self-confidence and boost your mental health.

Try out a new look to build confidence and tear down winter blues

3. Try Out a New Look

Changing your wardrobe is proven to boost your self-confidence. Enclothed cognition is a term used to describe the psychological impact that clothes have on people. For example, a test found that wearing a lab coat improved one’s carefulness and attentiveness. Both the symbolic meaning and psychological experience of wearing the clothes impact the effect. In short, try out a new wardrobe and experiment on how it affects your mentality. You’ll find the right outfits may boost your confidence and mental health.

Brighten up your environment to conquer your winter blues

4. Brighten Up Your Environment

Fall and winter bring less natural light into our homes. It’s only then we see the effects that light plays on our well-being. Light is essential to living healthy, happy lives. Light can impact our mental health, sleep, and energy levels. We fail to realize this until our homes become dark, leading us to feel less motivated, lean towards negative emotions/thoughts, and sleep more than before. Try either adding additional lights designed in color and style to meet your needs or light therapy if you feel stronger symptoms. Light therapy lamps are a safe and effective method for improving energy and mood levels.

The 2020 Ultimate Guide to Bright Light Therapy
Learn more about the importance of light

Our ultimate guide to light therapy breaks down the importance of light to your health/wellness, how light therapy works, and more.

LEARN MORE ABOUT LIGHT THERAPY
Add indoor plants to your home to lift your spirits and lower winter blues

5. Add Indoor Plants to Your Home

Adding indoor plants to both your work and home environment can have many advantages:

  • They keep you relaxed and lower anxiety. Being around plants has a calming effect, lowering negative emotions such as anxiety.
  • They increase your focus and memory. Studies show that being around plans (at home or work) increases your attention span by 20%.
  • You’re able to stay motivated longer. Another study found that those working around plants were able to be more productive.
  • By caring for plants, your stress levels are reduced, and experience better moods.
  • You become more creative. People surrounded by plants and greenery are 15% more creative.
Eat food that give you energy to beat your winter blues

6. Eat foods that give you energy

Having a healthy amount of energy is vital to sustainable and healthy mental health. Studies have shown that there are direct correlations to low energy and psychological disorders. Implementing healthy foods can significantly boost your energy and mood levels. Try these nine foods Healthline recommends:

  • Fatty fish
  • Dark chocolate
  • Fermented foods
  • Bananas
  • Oats
  • Berries
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Coffee
  • Beans and lentils

Try to avoid foods that are high in sugar and processed. While these may be tempting, they can cause you to crash, negatively impacting physical and mental health.

Dawn simulators help reset your circadian rhythm, a key factor and cause of winter blues.

7. Buy a Dawn Simulator

A primary reason people struggle during fall/winter is that their circadian rhythm is thrown off. In short, your circadian rhythm is your body’s internal wake/sleep schedule. When fall/winter rolls around, it becomes thrown off due to the lack of sunlight and shorter days. Dawn simulators are a great way to combat this. They trick your circadian rhythm by mimicking sunrises and sunsets using a timed light.

Exercising your way is perfect for staying motivated and on top of your winter blues.

8. Exercise in a Way That's Easy for You

Exercise is one of the more obvious methods. However, it can be challenging to stay motivated. Try finding a method of training that suits your interest, lifestyle, and schedule. If you’re not a fan of the gym, try workout programs you can do at home. Another way of doing so is trying indoor sports (such as rock climbing) you may find interesting and fun.

Music can help get you out of a mental funk, easing your winter blues.

9. Listen to Mood Boosting Music

Music is a crucial cornerstone of our cultures, lives, and daily activities. And rightfully so, there have been numerous studies proving that music has many mental health benefits, boosting your mood being one of them. Try to implement more happy music into your daily routines. It’s a cheap and effective way to improve your spirits and mood.

Getting away, even for the day, can clear your head and winter blues.

10. Plan a Getaway, Even if it's Close By

The simple act of planning an adventure can raise your spirits. It takes your mind off stressful thoughts and gives you something to look forward to. If you can’t get far from where you live, try googling local areas of interest and creating a hit list of places to visit and things to do that are close by.

Volunteering gives a sense of fulfillment, key to diminishing the winter blues.

11. Get Involved in Your Community

Getting involved in volunteer work can have significant benefits for your physical and mental health. The social aspect of volunteering not only offers an escape, but aids in relieving stress, anger, and anxiety. And if that’s not enough, volunteering gives you a sense of purpose, increases your self-confidence, and makes you happy. Try looking into local non-profits to volunteer with. It will get you out of your house, around people, and make you feel better about yourself.

Nothing is better for the winter blues than natural sunlight.

12. Spend Time Outside

Nothing will help like being outside, around nature, and in contact with natural sunlight at the end of the day. Try getting out every day or whenever possible—even going out when its cloudy can help you get the benefits of natural sunlight.

The winter blues causes us to feel lonely. Pets are a great way to alleviate stress, loneliness, and anxiety.

13. Get a Pet

Having pets around can give you the companionship you always needed. Having a pet can provide a sense of security and is proven to alleviate stress, anxiety, depression, and feelings of loneliness and social isolation.

Having great wellness is key to beating the winter blues.

14. Focus on Your Wellness

Wellness has gained a lot of popularity over the past years, and for a good reason. Your wellness is vital to stable mental health, feeling fulfilled in life, and being positive. There are many ways to improve your wellness, but only you know which may be right for you. Start by experimenting with activities such as meditation, yoga, journaling, and more. These activities are designed to retrain your mindset, calm any negative emotions, and take your mind to a more positive state.

Focus on what makes you feel fulfilled to keep the winter blues from coming back.

15. Focus on What Makes You feel Fulfilled

One of the many side effects of winter is the depletion of our motivation. This causes us to neglect things that make us fulfilled, which is vital to good mental health. Fulfillment brings meaning and purpose to our lives. Take that away, and we develop a negative mindset as well as psychological disorders. Write down a list of activities that bring meaning to your life. Make an effort to integrate them into your daily routine, regardless of how unmotivated you may feel.

Being near fire can lower blood pressure and relax you. Great for the winter blues.

16. Spend Time by Fire

If you’re like most people that dislike winter, it’s because of the colder weather. A study from the University of Alabama found that sitting by a fire helps lower blood pressure and relaxes you. Not only this but sitting by a fire offers a social setting that’s unlike any other. If you hate the cold, try setting up a fire to combat the winter blues.

Being social helps liven up your mood and keep the winter blues away

17. Stay Social with Good People

Who you interact with is essential to having a positive outlook. Your social life is critical to mental health. Be sure to surround yourself with friends or family that supports and encourages you. It’s essential to be around people you connect with and can go to when you need help. They can play a significant role in both helping or hurting your mental health.

Your bucket list can be a great way to cope with winter blues and stay distracted.

18. Check Something Off Your Bucket List

Because we’re confined to indoors for the most of fall/winter, we tend to go into hibernation mode. We spend most of our time doing things such as watching TV and on social media. This can take a toll on our mental well-being. Try doing something that’s always been on your bucket list. It can even be the simplest of things. Doing so will boost your mood and make you feel better about life.

Getting a healthy amount of sleep is key to staying energized. Energy helps reduce winter blues symptoms.

19. Focus on a Healthy Sleep Habit and Schedule

Getting a minimum of seven hours of regular sleep on a normal schedule is vital to your health. Winter tends to mess up our sleep schedule. We either sleep too much or too little during this time of year. It’s also essential to build healthy sleep habits. Sleep without any noise or TVs on. This will help you sleep deeper, longer. Temperature is another sleeping factor. Try sleeping in temperatures of 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit. Your body temperature decreases as you initiate sleep, and these temperatures are proven to help.

Laughter is a great way to brighten your spirit and lower your winter blues

20. Watch Funny Shows and Movies

Laughing is a proven method for raising one’s spirits. Studies have shown that laughing reduces emotions of stress, anxiety, tension, and depression. Not only this, but it elevates mood, self-esteem, hope, energy, and vigor. The positives of laughter are endless. Try watching shows and movies relevant to your humor that invoke laughter.

Stay organized with important tasks so your winter blues don't take over

21. Stay Organized with Important Tasks

As our motivation depletes, so does our productivity. This can lead to feeling overwhelmed and procrastinating. It’s vital to combat this by staying organized. Develop organization methods based on your style of work. This will keep your to-do list down and from becoming an issue. Try to plan out each month in advance, especially at the beginning of fall. That way, you can keep yourself motivated and from being overwhelmed.

Your doctor can recommend ways to keep your winter blues at bay

22. Don't Hesitate to See Your Doctor

While you may not see it as necessary, your doctor can help recommend different ways to keep your winter blues at bay. Not only this, but they may pinpoint where you struggle and decide if medications may or may not help.

Meditation can help keep the winter blues away

23. Meditate

Meditation is an old practice with many benefits. It’s the practice of silencing one’s thoughts and focusing on breathing. This is proven to help reduce stress, gain mental clarity, and help with mental disorders such as depression. While there are many meditation types, all are relatively easy to do and can be done in your home’s comfort.

Hobbies provide stress relief, a key to easing winter blues

24. Start an Indoor Hobby

Hobbies are a perfect way to distract one’s self and pass the time. They provide an outlet for stress relief and often promote creativity. When you can’t get outside, the right hobby can temporarily replace any outdoor activity. Here’s an excellent list of 68 indoor hobbies to get you started.

Instead of fighting winter, embrace it. This can help keep your winter blues from being too much of a problem.

25. Embrace, Don't Resist Winter

It’s perfectly normal to resist anything we don’t like, especially in winter. Try a mindset shift, instead of dreading winter, embrace it. Write down everything you dislike about winter and propose a solution to it. For example, if you don’t like winter because of the darkness, propose adding lights, doing light therapy, and making an effort to get outside whenever you can. This kind of thinking will make combating winter blues easier and more effective.

Winter offers the perfect opportunity to replace bad habits with good ones.

26. Replace Bad Habits with Good Ones

Winter can be a time for you to focus on developing better habits. Take the time to replace bad habits with better ones. Not only does this pass time, but it increases your self-confidence, quality of life, and overall well-being. Start listing the habits you’d like to change and create an action plan for changing them.

Showing gratitude makes you happier, more content, and less stressed. All key aspects of beating the winter blues.

27. Express Gratitude Daily

Several studies show that persons who show gratitude regularly are happier, more content with life, and cope better with stress. They can see more positive than negative, a key happiness trait. Start practicing daily gratitude by either writing down what you’re grateful for or just pointing out the positive things in your life. You’ll feel your mental state improves and will cope with stress more healthily.

Aromatherapy can help relieve winter blues by relaxing you, improving sleep, and reducing pain.

28. Manage Stress with Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is the act of using essential oils to rub on one’s skin, ingest, or diffuse into a vapor form. Essential oils are made from flower, herb, and tree parts, like bark, roots, peels, and petals of plants such as lavender, lemon, and cedarwood. Aromatherapy is commonly used to ease stress, relax, improve sleep, and reduce pain. If you experience any of those ailments, aromatherapy may be worthwhile trying.

Spa treatments have many health benefits to take control of your winter blues.

29. Go to the Spa

Spa treatments offer many health benefits. They help reduce stress, promote better sleep, ease aches and pain, improve blood circulation to fight illness, and make you happier by promoting serotonin release. Start by scheduling one spa treatment and, if it helps, making it a regular occurrence.

Books offer an escape from daily stress brought on by winter blues

30. Read a Book

Much like movies and TV shows, books offer a form of escape from everyday stress. Not only this, but they promote better cognitive function. Many successful people make it a habit to read every day. Doing so flexes your memory muscle and improves your ability to learn new things.

Hygge takes away the key causes of winter blues including stress, agitation, and more.

31. Try the Art of Hygge

Hygge (pronounced hue-guh not hoo-gah) is a Danish term and way of life created to promote simplicity, happiness, and being in the moment. It’s not anything you can buy, rather a method of creating rituals, such as drinking coffee in the morning, slowing yourself down, and enjoying that given moment. This lifestyle allows one to develop gratitude, peace, and a sense of balance in life. By slowing down, you escape your daily responsibilities and build inner peace.

Getting away your cellphone helps you be more present, something that can ease the winter blues.

32. Get Away from Electronics

Our cellphones tend to take us away from being in the present. They’re proven to have adverse mental effects that lead to depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. It seems we’ve become addicted to our phones, which has taken us away from being present. Make an effort to detach yourself from all electronics and be in the moment. This will help build a sense of peace as well as better allow you to connect with others.

The winter blues can be hard to overcome. By taking the proper steps and actions, you can make surviving winters easier and fun. Just remember that not everyone is the same. Sometimes, it takes trial and error to find what best fits your personality and lifestyle.

About the Author

Brandon Landgraf is the Digital Marketing Manager for Carex Health Brands. He finds passion and fulfillment in creating content that enhances, improves, and enlivens others' quality of life. All of his written work is formulated to not only offer essential advice and tips but back it with proven studies and experts. His mission is to connect with readers and provide steps to make their lives better.

You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.

About Carex Health Brands

Carex is your one-stop shop for home medical equipment and for products that assist caregivers with providing the best possible support and care for their loved ones. Carex Health Brands has been the branded leader in in-home, self-care medical products for over 35 years. Our goal is to improve the lives of our customers by bring them quality products that bring dignity back to their lives. With our three nationally distributed brands, Carex Health Brands serves national, regional and independent food, drug and mass retailers along with wholesalers, distributors and medical dealers.

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