10 Simple Ways to Beat the Winter Blues

bluesIf you are like me then winter is not your friend. The cold, dreary days tend to drag on, as cabin fever sets in and depression, boredom, lack of motivation and lethargy begin to choke the life out of me.

I came across this entertaining, well-written article on Psych Central by author, Therese J. Borchard. Borchard lists these suggestions to help you battle the winter blues.

1.  Be of service to others

I started cooking new-to-us, healthy recipes as my husband and I committed to losing weight before bathing suit season arrives. I feel like I am doing something extra special for my family as I spend an hour or more each night chopping, dicing, and slicing fresh fruits and vegetables, and preparing scrumptious home-cooked meals. The weekly planning and execution of such dishes (compared to a box meal or popping a pizza in the oven) alone helps to battle my boredom as well.

2.  Join a gym

I did this – Yeah!!! The problem?  I never went! A gym is a great idea for some, but not for me. Because of my anxiety, I have a hard enough time getting out of the house for essentials like doctor’s appointments. I am more successful with a mile walk around the neighborhood where I can take my time and hide behind my sunglasses rather than going to the gym and risk having to interact with anyone.

3.  Use a light lamp

I do this, and it helps a lot. After 45 minutes in front of my light, I feel energized and ready to get off the couch and do something productive (like make those dinners.) I use my light twice a day, once in the morning and once in the late afternoon. It really does work.

4.  Wear bright colors

I am an earthy kind of girl, wearing lots of browns, blacks, and greens.  Neutral colors fill my closets, so I have not tried this suggestion out, but it makes sense that bright colors could lift your mood.

This morning, I walked into a new doctor’s office and the walls were painted a dreamcicle, creamy orange, and adorned with bright impressionist paintings.  It was a breath of fresh air.  I literally felt calmer and happier as I sat there, surrounded by these bright, yet soft, colors.

5.  Force yourself outside

I step outside when I let the dogs out, mainly to have a cigarette, but hey at least I am getting out!  I also go for walks outdoors.

6.  Hang out with friends

This is a tricky area for me.  I meet with a small group of women once a week and overall, it helps my mood.  Having face-time with close friends definitely enhances my emotional well-being, but too much of it drains me physically and mentally.  Migraines often follow visits that last too long.  My limit for any type of social situation is about two hours.

7.  Head south

We have always taken our family vacations during the summer months when the kids are out of school.  Last year, however, I convinced my husband to head south during the month of December specifically for this reason – to battle my seasonal depression.  It worked…for that month anyway.

We will probably do it again next year, but will shoot for January or February instead.  The December trip was great, don’t get me wrong, but I think my depression really takes a nose dive after the holidays, so a trip in January would be more ideal.

8.  Learn something new or start a home project

This winter I have been editing our home videos.  I even splurged and bought a software program to add fun effects to them.  It takes me several hours to do a ten minute video, but the results are very cool and satisfying.

Creative projects like video editing, painting, and photography keep my mind off the bleak weather conditions.  When my hands are idle, my mind wanders and that is never a good thing for me.

9.  Limit sugar intake

Sugar-crashes and weight gain….’nuf said.

10.  Take Omega-3’s

My suggestion on this is to talk to your doctor.  I take them, but I don’t feel they make a huge difference (if any at all) on my emotional health.

What do you do to battle the winter blues?  Share your tips in the comments.  Also, while you’re here, I invite you to subscribe to this blog.  Thanks and have a blue-free day.

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