It’s February! Who’s out there enjoying winter’s majesty?? The snow is beautiful...aaaaaaand that’s all I got. It’s grey and cold and slushy and dreary and I just want to burrito up in a blanket and hibernate for the next 2 months. Anyone else feeling this way? Trust me, you are not alone. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that's related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you're like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody.”
Add to that the issues that come from increased isolation and other challenges due to the pandemic, and you’re checking off the boxes for a potentially rough winter, emotionally.
Luckily, there are some simple ways to help beat these winter blues.
Get Outside. Yup, it sure is cold out. But if you bundle up and take even a short walk around the block, the fresh air and natural light will clear your head, increase your energy and give you an instant mood boost.
Write a Letter. An actual physical letter. On paper. Putting your thoughts down on paper can help you release negative thoughts and show gratitude or appreciation. Writing can also reduce anxiety and stress, encourage creativity, give you relief from staring at a screen and increase joy! How fun is it to get a piece of mail that’s actually for you just because someone was thinking about you?
Make a Phone Call. There’s a much stronger sense of connection and instant gratification if you talk to someone on the phone rather than text or email. You can read a mood in ways that you can’t from looking at words on a screen. The difference between reading “LOL” and actually hearing someone laugh is like night and day. And let’s be honest...video calls are fine, but sometimes I just want to roll out of bed and not care that my hair looks like Medusa and I’m not wearing pants.
Reduce Your Screen Time. Soooo, this one can be tricky, since so many of us are working remotely and have increased screen usage because of it. However, as outlined by CNBC, excessive screen time isn't great for kids or adults. But you can certainly cut down on it outside of work responsibilities. Try reading a book or playing a board game instead of watching TV in the evening. Bundle up and take a walk or play outside. Switch your screen to greyscale so the visuals aren’t as appealing (yup, that's a thing). Don't use your phone as an alarm clock. Turn off push notifications. Hell, even just setting it down in a different room for a bit can help!
Throw Yourself a Party. I don’t know if other people do this one, but it definitely makes me happy! I like to crank up the music and have a random dance party. Maybe turning up the heat, making your favorite fruity drink and listening to beachy music is your thing. Or what about putting on your fanciest clothes, doing up your hair and makeup and having a chi-chi family dinner? Whatever party vibes you want to create, do it up!
Now, I’m not a medical professional, so if you’re feeling like you can’t manage day to day, please talk to a professional to get the help you need. Otherwise, I’d love to hear if any of these tips work for you, or if you have other ways of coping with the winter blues!