If the winter blues have you down, you can take some simple steps during the cold season to invite happiness back into your life. By embracing the good things winter has to offer while also holding onto the best parts of summer, you can have the best of both worlds. If your seasonal depression warrants professional medical attention, however, don’t hesitate to talk with a healthcare provider about what treatments might be suitable for your circumstances.
Embrace What’s Uniquely Good About Winter
Although my chronic joint and muscle pains act up when it’s cold and I hate driving in the snow, I’m willing to admit that winter has a handful of positive traits that I can get behind. Turning on the fireplace and sipping some hot cocoa while watching “It’s a Wonderful Life,” for example, is something that I love and also something that just doesn’t feel as enjoyable in the middle of July.
Determine what winter-time activities and festivities you enjoy and make sure to take advantage of such opportunities throughout the winter in order to alleviate your blues. Slurping down a nice bowl of hot soup, building snowmen with the kids, watching movies while under a big blanket, listening to Christmas carols, making dessert plates for all of your neighbors, going sledding or skiing, attending holiday parties or going to special church gatherings may be of interest to you.
You don’t have to like everything there is to like about winter, but you’ll be happier if you focus your attentions on the characteristics that you do like rather than all the traits that you hate.
Create a Comforting, Summer-Like Atmosphere
To help improve your mood in the winter, make sure to hang onto all of the summer qualities that you love the most. Turn on the heater and eat a frozen slushie. If having shorter days gets you down, you may be interested in purchasing a lightbox, which can act as a light and negative ion therapy to help you feel refreshed and rejuvenated just like you are by sunlight in the warmer months of the year. As desired, consult with a doctor about what kind of box to get and how much time daily you should spend sitting in front of one.
If what you love about the summer is the carefree and party-like atmosphere that is embedded in our upbringings, take advantage of all the holiday parties you are invited to and all the days you have off of work or school. Although the winter months are known for hectic schedules and demanding workloads, the holiday season of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s can provide a nice relief from the otherwise straining time of year.
For those who get seriously worn out by the day-to-day of life in winter, consider saving your vacation days for a beach-bound trip in the midst of the snowy season. Visit somewhere warm and get away from the stresses you’re dealing with. Although you may not be able to afford treating yourself to such vacations every other week, having one nice week to look forward to can do a world of good when you’re feeling down about life.
Find Joy in the Little Things
Even when winter’s not your favorite season, every moment isn’t necessarily going to feel like winter so appreciate all of the little things that could be worse. If it doesn’t snow on a given day, rejoice and treat yourself to lunch outside on the patio. If you don’t end up having to undergo a year-end evaluation at work, recognize that fact as a gift and let it continue to boost your spirits. Look for the positive and you’ll be able to see it, even during winter.
When you’re stuck in a rut, you can also intentionally create happy moments to be joyful about. Treat yourself to a massage, manicure or hair dying appointment. Try out that new restaurant that recently opened up down the street and see what’s playing at the movies. Orchestrate a nice evening out or a relaxing night in–just do something that keeps you feeling like things are going to be okay.
Keep Your Diet and Lifestyle in Check
When you feel discouraged and depressed, it’s easy to load up on comfort foods and skip your workouts. Especially during the winter when it’s cold, you may just feel like sending out for pizza while you snuggle up with a blanket rather than go for a jog. But, decreasing your physical activity and increasing your consumption are two practices that will make your depression worse and not better.
Identify your temptations and put healthy habits into place in order to strengthen your resolve to do good. Get a gym pass or a treadmill if you know that it will be too cold and icy to exercise outdoors in the next few months. Don’t even go down the snack aisle if you know that you won’t be able to resist loading up your shopping cart with chips and cookies.
When you attend holiday parties or have a neighbor drop off a plate of goodies, watch your portions and only sample in moderation. You can enjoy the festivities and indulge in a bite here and there, but don’t override all of the effort you’ve put into your health earlier in year. To help yourself effectively overcome mental and emotional disorders, you should keep yourself on the road to physical fitness as well.
Talk with Your Doctor
While some individuals with minor winter blues may be able to find relief simply from at-home solutions, other individuals are more severely affected and may need outside help from a trusted healthcare professional in order to start seeing desired improvements. If you are afflicted with seasonal affective disorder or any serious bouts of depression, you may want to talk with a doctor, therapist or other medical professional about your situation and possible treatment options.
You may benefit from taking a prescription medication, using an herbal supplement like melatonin or going to counseling. There are many different types of treatments and possibilities so don’t give up hope and keep working with your doctors and advisors until you find what suits your personal situation.