Emotional Wellbeing

Inspiration

Mandy Kloppers

5 Effective Ways to Cope with Winter Blues

The winter blues are a common and expected part of the dark and cold season for many people. As the days begin to get shorter and temperatures fall, you may start to notice sadness, fatigue, lack of concentration, and difficulty sleeping. Some cases can be relatively easy to cope with by making just a few lifestyle changes. Other people have severe symptoms. If you’re in the latter group, you may be dealing with a kind of depression known as a seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. Take a look at these effective ways to cope with winter blues so that you can manage your moods a bit easier this winter.

1. Eat Well

 

Beating the winter blues should start with what you put into your body. As the saying goes, you are what you eat. You may need a bit of a boost in order to compensate for your body’s desire to slow down as the weather starts to get chilly. Try adding protein to every meal of the day. Doing so can decrease sugar and carb cravings. You may also notice an improvement in your mood. Another way to use food to improve your mood is to add items rich in vitamin D to your diet. Fatty fish or a fish oil supplement should definitely be on the list. Food that is fortified with vitamin D is also good. Think milk, yogurt, breakfast cereal, and orange juice. Talk to your doctor. It’s possible they will recommend a vitamin D supplement.

2. Get Enough Sleep

 

It’s even more important during the winter months to keep up with a sleep routine. This will promote rest and help to lessen insomnia. the reason it’s so important that you stick to your schedule is due to the fact that your body’s circadian rhythm can be disrupted during the winter months. This impacts the production of hormones such as cortisol. Be sure you go to bed and awaken at the same time every day, including days you don’t work. A nighttime routine will help to tell your brain it’s time for sleep. Try to avoid using electronics right before bed, as the blue light can make it difficult to fall asleep.

3. Move Your Body

Physical activity is a good part of a depression-busting routine. Staying active can reduce stress and boost your mood. You want to shoot for doing some type of physical activity at least five days a week, but it’s okay to start small. Going for a walk around the neighborhood is a start. Plus, the sunlight and fresh air will do you good. Longer hikes in nature would be great, as you build up your strength. Hitting the gym is fine, too. Yoga or other low-impact routines can be beneficial.

 

4. See the Sunshine

Because the days are shorter and you’re spending more time indoors, you aren’t being exposed to the sun’s rays. Therefore, your stores of vitamin D may be depleted. You need sun exposure for adequate levels of serotonin and melatonin. It can also help regulate your circadian rhythm. Spending time outdoors is best, but you can also choose to sit near a window for an hour or so each day. Supplementing this with light therapy may be effective if you have severe SAD. You’ll want to get a lightbox and sit in front of it for at least half an hour each morning after you wake up.

5. Find a Support System

Finally, sometimes you simply can’t get through the low times on your own. Reaching out to others can provide support and let you know you’re not alone. Even just starting with online interaction through social media can help you to feel connected. Reading a blog or lifestyle website is a good way to find information to assist you in feeling better. Spending actual time doing something fun with friends or family can go a long way toward boosting your mood. You may want to seek the aid of a professional therapist if you find that none of these approaches are working.

 

There are ways you can cope with the winter blues. Taking these steps should make it easier to manage low energy and mood. Making just a few modifications can do a world of good.

 

 

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