As we enter the “happiest time of the year”, there are a lot of things to look forward to. The holidays, time with family, cozy season, but unfortunately, for some people (like myself), while this time of year can be great…it’s also a reminder that the days are shorter and the amount of sunlight in a day is shorter (ugh, it gets dark at 4:00pm).
If you feel like your mood during the fall and winter is a little on the downside, you may suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), also known as the “winter blues”. I actually suffer from this, and it can be devastating, I mean, my birthday is in January, but I find myself more down and out between November and March.
I know I’m not the only one who gets into these feelings of despair, so I’m here to try to help you out! Thankfully, there has been a lot of research on how to manage these feelings during these months, but more importantly, this means that SAD isn’t just in our heads. Remember, you’re not alone so I truly hope these tips on how to manage the winter blues are beneficial!
#1 Light Therapy
One of the most obvious remedies that a lot of experts suggest for the winter blues, is to invest in a “happy light” to use for light therapy. The science behind this is that a “happy light” mimics the UV rays of the sun, which can boost your mood, increase your energy, and enhance your focus!
I gave in and I actually bought my “happy light” from Amazon, and I want to say that it helps! I have it on my desk right by my laptop because I don’t know about you, but I need that serotonin when I’m working haha! Now, I also found out that my big ole ring light also does the same thing, just in case you don’t want to purchase a “happy light”.
#2 Be Present and Indulge in Winter Joys
I love this tip because it was actually something my therapist encouraged me to lean into. So, as I mentioned in the intro, fall and winter are times for family gatherings, the holidays, food and desserts, and more. For the most part, I truly enjoy all of this, so I make sure I do ALL the things lol!
For instance, I make sure I watch all of my favorite autumnal/spooky (not scary or horror, there’s a difference) movies (Hocus Pocus 1 and 2, Halloweentown, Addams Family, etc.) and I make sure I decorate my goddess pad with fall decor and autumn candles! I also make sure I buy some new cozy loungewear and indulge in hearty soups, apple cider, and bonfires!
Now for the winter, my winter blues really go into full effect, so give me ALL the Christmas movies, ALL the desserts, and ALL the comfy blankets! Listen, if I had a fireplace in my goddess pad, it would be such a winter vibe. Let me manifest that for my next place of residence haha! In addition, I used to hate living in the Chicagoland area, but the older I get, the more grateful and present I am…now, I actually love watching the first snowfall of the season.
Also, on one of my morning struts, I discovered a huge hill that is perfect for sledding, which takes me back to childhood! It reminds me of a simpler time when I was younger having fun with my siblings making snow angels and snowmen!
#3 Increase Your Vitamin D Intake
This is a very matter-of-fact point, but a lot of doctors will advise you to increase your Vitamin D intake to combat the winter blues. In case you didn’t know, Vitamin D supplements, like the “happy light”, are good for enhancing your mood with serotonin, improving feelings of fatigue, and Vitamin D is known as the “sunlight hormone”.
Now, speaking about sunlight, if you live somewhere where it doesn’t snow or get super cold in the winter, I encourage you to get natural Vitamin D from the sun. Take a walk outside, do a quick jog around your neighborhood, or just enjoy sitting on your balcony or porch to soak up as much natural sunlight as you can.
#4 Boost Your Mood
Ok, you probably knew this was coming, but I would encourage you to do whatever you need to do to boost your mood! Whether it’s through exercising, eating your favorite comfort food, going to a spa (that you included in your budget), or whatever you need to do to feel good. For me, something that boosts my mood is watching either my favorite Studio Ghibli film on HBO Max (think Japanese Disney) or a Korean drama!
The key here is to not dismiss your feelings about the blues but not live in that perpetual state of the winter blues. Your feelings are totally valid, so do whatever you need to do to bring joy into your life and boost your mood. Remember there is no judgment when it comes to your mental health, just make sure whatever you do isn’t harmful to yourself or to others. Do whatever you can to get out of that slump.
#5 Stay Social
I’m going to take it back to the quarantine days with this last point! Remember when we were on strict “stay at home” orders? Well, I know that when it’s cold and there’s lots of snow, I HATE going outside, but I’m also an extroverted ambivert, who loves to be around my friends and family. Well, that’s where good old phone calls, Facetime, and Zoom calls can come into play!
Even though quarantine wasn’t fun for a lot of reasons, it taught me how to manage my winter blues because everyone was going through the same thing. What really helped was staying active in my friends’ lives through communication!
I think when we hear the word “social”, we automatically think that it has to be in person, which if you can get out during the winter safely, please do, but being socially active can be done through technology! I know for me, the CGS Facebook group has been a godsend during my darkest times. We have so much fun over there!
Related: Snow Day Activities
So there you have it folks! These are just some of the tips that I use during those seasons when it’s cold, damp, gloomy, dark, snowy, and just too cold to step out of the house. The winter blues are real, but we can, and will, get through these months together! Do yourself a favor and make your favorite hot beverage right now and pop on your favorite comfort movie or TV show!
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