We’re nearing the end of what feels like the longest month of my life. Seriously, January is just one long month of dull weather and short days. The combination of the two can leave you feeling bleak, sad, and just generally in a blah mood about everything. I’m raising my hands up to Queen Bey that’s it’s coming to a close.
However, that doesn’t mean winter is over, which is the real culprit here. Winter is a hard time for those of us that don’t do well cooped up in the house. It’s hard enough to spend 40 hours a week stuck in an office to only go home with one, maybe two hours of sunlight left. If you feel what I’m talking about, I’ve worked out a few little tricks to chase the winter blues away.
5 ways to chase the winter blues away
1. Bring the outdoors, indoors
If you’re not a plant mom or dad yet, A) you’re good at avoiding trends and B) you need to head to the nearest Target or Lowe’s and grab a few. Plants are a great and easy way to bring a bit of the outdoors inside to lighten the mood. They can instantly add a pop of color against the dreary gray clouds outside. If you choose a live plant, treat it as your winter project. Focus your energy on keeping the plant alive rather than focusing on the negativity the dead of winter brings to your mood. For maximum results, stick with the fake variety. They’re guaranteed to stick it out with your through winter and beyond!
2. Create one thing to look forward to each day
I know this might sound cheesy, but I find it to be true. When the sun sets by dinner time and you’ve still got a million things on your to-do list that don’t fit in the ‘me time’ category, it’s easy to feel like the day is already over. But I’ve found that creating one thing each day to look forward to keeps me sane during winter. That could be making a comfort meal for yourself, blocking out an hour to catch up on your favorite TV show, or reading before bed. Whatever it is, allow yourself a slice of time each day to get your mind off the dread of winter. Escape from reality for a little while.
3. Schedule time with friends
As an introvert, it’s hard enough to schedule time with friends in advance and follow through, let alone during winter. When I come home from work the pants and bra come off and the robe goes on and I’m in for the night. But that’s a slippery slope to fall into. I think it’s so important to schedule plans and keep them during winter or else you can fall into a hermit pattern more than usual. Make it a weekly or bi-weekly event you can do together so you know you have a standing interaction date. Find a bar or restaurant with weekly trivia and become the best team there every week. Pick a Netflix show to watch one night a week together. Whatever it is, push yourself to get out of the house and raise your dopamine levels with a friend.
4. Seek help
I’m a huge advocate for self-help. If seasonal depression is something you struggle with, I highly encourage you to seek professional guidance if you feel it might be necessary. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. I understand the tips I’ve given so far aren’t a bulletproof cure and really only scratch the surface for some people. If you have a friend that struggles with depression during winter, encourage them to talk to someone and assure them you’re there for them when they need it. Purchase a SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) lamp for a quick improvement. SAD lamps emit bright light to mimic the energy we absorb from the sun during brighter months. Sunscreen not required.
5. Get outside
If there’s a break in temperature one day of the week above 32 degrees, take advantage. Walking or running on the treadmill can only be entertaining for so long, and even saying that is a stretch. Talk a walk around the block or at a local park to fill that outdoor need. Bundle up in layers if you need to, but don’t let that one semi-decent day pass. Bonus happy points if you get to pet a dog along the way.
I’ll be honest in saying these things don’t always work for me. Some days just plain suck during winter and there’s nothing that can make them feel better. But brighter days are ahead. I’d love to hear about your favorite ways to chase away the winter blues. We gotta stick together during these dreary months.