Chilly overcast days and darker evenings can mean just one thing – winter is coming. And with the cold weather comes the so-called winter blues. While the winter blues isn’t an official clinical diagnosis, the National Institutes of Health, NIH, state that it’s actually fairly common and is characterized by feeling sadder, less energized and generally more sluggish than usual.
But you shouldn’t just wallow in the blues; try these things to help you get out of your winter rut.
Stick to a Strict Sleeping Routine
It’s very appealing to just sleep in, especially when it’s particularly dark outside, but sticking to a sleeping schedule, meaning sleeping and waking up the exact time every single day, might help you feel lighter. Do note though that need to give yourself a couple of weeks to a month to get used to your new sleeping schedule so don’t worry too much.
Get Regular Exercise or Follow Your Existing Exercise Schedule
If you already exercise regularly, don’t let the winter blues stop you, and if you don’t exercise, this is an excellent time to start. Studies have shown that getting 20 to 30 minutes of vigorous physical activity at least four times weekly could help lift up your mood.
If you’re just starting out, you can go for long walks or runs outside, ride around the neighborhood in your bike, go to your local gym, or even work out right in your home. When exercising outside, always dress appropriately.
Wear one or two of your favorite Obermeyer women’s or ladies’ sweaters under a light or heavy winter jacket, and don’t forget about your gloves, scarf, beanie, tall socks and a face mask if needed.
Keep Yourself Warm with Hot Cocoa
Cozy up in bed or beside the fire with homemade hot cocoa, using non-Dutch, natural cocoa powder for a boost of mood-boosting and heart-healthy flavonoids. Drink a cup of hot cocoa as part of your bedtime ritual to prepare you for restful sleep.
Add some fortified milk to get a healthy dose of vitamin D, protein, and carbohydrates, which will help boost your serotonin levels and help your mind and body relax.
Laugh Out Loud
Laughter can trigger specific processes in the brain to help reduce depressive symptoms. Because laughing is contagious, consider inviting a few friends over to watch funny movies or TV shows for a laugh riot.
Go on Mini Staycations
Majority of people feel happy when they’re looking forward to something. If you don’t have the time or budget for an all-out vacation on some sunny island, consider making time for dinners, going to concerts, and ice skating with your friends. Even chill house parties or movie marathons can help elevate your mood.
A seasonal slump or feeling the blues during winter is relatively common, but you can combat this by trying the tips above. Do note though that feeling the blues for an extended period of time isn’t normal. That said, if your symptoms are not improving or are getting worse, it’s best that you visit your doctor to see whether your winter blues is not something more serious.