Winter can be a tough time of the year for many people. According to Harvard Medical School, shorter days, less light, cold weather, and limited social interaction can affect us all.
No matter how positive and happy you usually are, there can be days when you feel down and out of sorts. When that happens, know that you’re not alone. Studies estimate that up to 60% of Americans suffer at least occasional “blahs” during the winter months.
And, with Punxsutawney Phil predicting a long winter, it’s time to fight back against the winter blues with some of the following strategies to help lighten your mood.
One Minute Wonders
- Breathing. Take deep breaths when you’re feeling down. Focus on inhaling joy and exhaling tension.
- Compliment someone. Give praise or be kind to someone, it takes your mind off your mood and gives you both pleasure.
- Smile. Even if you don’t feel like it. Research suggests the act itself can help you improve your mood.
- Reflect. Take a minute to shut out all distractions and focus on something that brings you joy or gives you pleasure.
Take a Short Break
- Listen to music. Pull up your favorite playlist or meaningful song and spend a few minutes lost in music.
- Talk to a friend. Touch base with an upbeat friend for a feel-good distraction.
- Laugh. If a smile is good, a laugh can be magical. Watch a funny video or comedy sketch and enjoy a healthy laugh.
- Take a coffee break. Both the making and the sipping can help you relax and reconnect with yourself.
Quality Time for Yourself
- Be in nature. Indoors or out, find time to enjoy the wonders of nature. Visit a greenspace, sit on a bench, watch birds out a window. All can give you a boost.
- Treat yourself. Whether it’s taking time for your favorite meal or some retail therapy, a little pampering goes a long way.
- Exercise. Get out of your head and push your body. Walk, run, cycle, dance, whatever, just get up and break a sweat.
- Sunshine. Get outside when you can. Go for a walk, play in the snow, take up a winter sport…soaking up the winter sunshine helps you beat back the blues.
The winter blahs can affect us all, and for most, the occasional bad mood and sense of sadness can be minimized with some fun, simple solutions. However, if you suffer, or suspect you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), we strongly recommend you talk to a mental health expert to discuss the evidence-based treatments that can help alleviate your symptoms. Help is out there!
Stay warm and stay well.