Has the winter season gotten you all cuddled up in bed with no strength to get up? Well, you’re not the only one feeling this way. Dark winter months can cause people to feel drained, pushing them into a state of hibernation. Depleting energy levels and willpower during winter manifests itself in the form of extreme fatigue and laziness, reduced productivity, excessive sleeping and eating, struggling to concentrate, and an overall feeling of lingering sadness.
Fortunately, there are a few ways you can beat the winter doldrums. All you need is a little willpower and dedication for a few days to help you create a routine that will prevent you from slipping into a wintery slump.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at a few ways to beat winter blues.
Illuminate Your Home
Lack of light is one of the major causes of winter blues. Therefore, it makes sense that light and brightness can help you beat the winter doldrums effectively. The first step towards getting your energy back is to light up your home. Light up your lamps and try to concentrate light in one room to cut back on energy bills.
You should also opt for LED lights as not only are they brighter than conventional bulbs, but they also give off more natural light and consume 90% less energy. Another great way to illuminate your home is by changing up its décor – white walls and bright cushions can positively impact your mood.
Listen To Upbeat Music
Music has a significant impact on your mood; it can either make you feel low or uplift your spirits. Listening to cheery and upbeat music can considerably improve your mood in the short and long term. So, if you feel your energy levels depleting and the winter sadness kicking in, it’s time to turn up the music!
Establish a Sleep Routine
Sleep plays a vital role in influencing your overall mood. Lack of adequate sleep regularly disrupts your circadian rhythm, which further disrupts your cortisol rhythms and affects hormone production. Over-sleeping is a common effect of winter sadness, which can be brought under control by establishing a proper sleep routine.
Here are a few tips to help you do so:
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time daily.
- Follow a simple bedtime routine that signifies rest.
- Sleep in a cool, dark room
- Avoid using electronics before bedtime.
Spend Time Socializing
Isolation and loneliness can make the winter doldrums much worse. On the other hand, social interaction can help reduce depression, lower your blood pressure, and even reduce your stress hormones. This is why it’s always good to have a support system on your speed dial. If the winter doldrums begin getting worse, find a way to safely spend time with your family, friends, relatives, co-workers, or sponsors. If you cannot see your loved ones in person, you can connect with them telephonically or virtually. Either way, some social interaction can be the mood boost you really need!
Volunteering is another great option to shoo away the winter blues. Look for volunteering opportunities in your local community. This can be a great way to give back to society, connect with people, and improve your overall mental health.
Keep Fit and Stay Active
By giving you an adrenaline rush and a much-needed release of endorphins, physical activity and exercise can help boost your mood. Engaging in any form of exercise is as good as taking antidepressant medication. The lack of light and low temperatures during winter make you feel extra-lazy, causing you to have a more sedentary lifestyle, resulting in low self-confidence and unhappiness.
Since it may be difficult to push yourself to exercise during depression, you can motivate yourself by trying the 10x10x10 rule. Under this rule, you can break up the time into chunks instead of committing a long and extended workout. For instance, if your objective is to workout 30 minutes a day, divide the time into three mini-workouts of 10-minutes each.
Reduce Your Carb and Sugar Intake
The brain is a glucose-hungry organ, and people with winter blues or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) often find themselves reaching for junk foods loaded with carbs and sugar. Even though these foods might give you an instant sugar rush and boost in energy, it ultimately amplifies feelings of anxiety and depression! So, if you are determined to shoo the winter doldrums away, it’s time to push aside all the junk and bring out healthy foods and vitamins such as dark chocolate, vitamin D, and nuts!
Since cuddling up in a blanket is so comfortable, stepping out of your home is probably the farthest thought in your mind. However, it’s time to pull out your sweater, jacket, and gloves to brave the icy day. Natural light is present even on the cloudiest of days, and exposure to natural light is the key to boosting your mood. So, don’t forget to step outside your home, even if for a few minutes.
Winter doldrums can end up amplifying your existing depression. So, you need to reach out and speak to a professional as soon as you find yourself in a slump. Most psychological professionals prescribe antidepressants or conduct ‘talking therapies,’ such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to treat depressive disorders.
There’s no denying that winter blues are authentic and can take a toll on your mental and physical health. However, while you can’t possibly fast forward through the seasons, you can make choices to better the quality of your life and minimize the effects of feeling down.
If the above-listed ways to beat winter blues don’t provide you much relief, it may be time to seek help from a doctor.