Dark mornings, darker nights, and in between nothing but frozen days of gray: it’s no wonder many of us end up with a bad case of the winter blues. These seasonal doldrums are pretty common and typically leave us feeling more melancholic, lethargic, and disinterested than usual. The good news? There are specific things you can do to feel more alive and actually thrive in the weeks (and possibly months!) before spring arrives.
Embrace a healthy diet. Complex carbs such as whole grains are perfect for boosting your energy level. Fruits and veggies such as broccoli and carrots offer the type of nutrients that promote improved mood and better overall health.
Dig out your running shoes and get outside. Getting at least 20 minutes of spirited activity four times a week has been proven to reduce depressive mood. If you don’t love the cold and snow, buy a gym membership. Whatever it takes to get you up and moving around.
Establish a regular sleep routine. Tempting as it might be to sleep in on these oh so dark mornings (we’ve all been there), sticking to a regular sleep schedule really is the best thing for your body and mind. This means making sure you wake up at around the same time most days.
Stimulate each of your senses. Some folks discover that painting their walls a bright color (or even their nails) can have a magical effect on their mood. Scents such as peppermint can also add to your feeling of well-being.
Make up a list of funny, feel-good movies and laugh, laugh, laugh. Psychologists have proven that laughter actually stimulates your brain in a way that counters depressive symptoms. So round up your family or your friends (or both) and commence the laughing.
Host a party. Since we’re already past the holidays, any excuse to host a gathering of friends will do. I recommend organizing a dinner party, a board game night, or my favorite: a friendly at-home open mic that includes all your musical friends.
Keep your to-do lists manageable. Don’t overwhelm yourself with lengthy lists of projects and chores just because you can’t garden like you do in the spring. Don’t settle for spending your winter hours doing too much stuff you don’t enjoy. It’ll wear you out pretty quickly and make you hate this time of year even more.
Book a staycation. If your work buddy’s upcoming Bahamas trip has you dreaming of traveling, you can save money and still get a seasonal boost by planning a mini-getaway near where you live. It’s much easier (and cheaper) to plan a local staycation outing with some of your favorite folks.