7 Ways to Treat Your Winter Blues (Seasonal Affect Disorder Emergency Kit)

winter blues

Forget everything you learned about surviving the winter blues.

It’s not about the cold.

It’s not about the snow.

It’s not about money.

I wish money could buy happiness.

If I had my way, I’d boil a full pot of hot green tea, snuggle on the couch and hibernate all season long. That scenario, though, is a tad unrealistic.

Aesthetics aside, the thing that bothers me the most about winter is how it makes me feel. Lethargy settles into my bones and doesn’t want to leave until spring arrives.

I understand seasonal depression. When you don’t have that Vitamin D beating down on you every day, you’re bound to be affected. You can let it drag you down or you can do something about it.

I’m going to give you a short guide to treating your Seasonal Affect Disorder. Think of it as your Winter Blues Emergency Kit.

1. Get Social

If you’re spending winter cooped up, miserable and alone, you’re going to stay that way. Actively making plans to interact with friends and family will lift your spirits. Make it a goal to get out and catch up with friends at least once a week. Even if you have to drag yourself there, you’ll be happy you did.

2. Add Exercise

Nothing says winter slump like sitting on the couch counting the ceiling tiles. One way to feel productive is to fit a workout into your schedule a few times every week. We love to use winter as an excuse to be lazy because it’s too cold to go outside. And a drive to the gym seems unbearable. Luckily, there are other ways. Dig up a few workout DVDs or follow a fit account on Instagram that will kick you into gear. With all the endorphins running through your system, you’ll be smiling and feeling good in no time.

3. Eat Right

I don’t know about you, but whenever I choose a box of McNuggets over a nutritious salad, I could not feel any lower. Foods that are highly processed and have a lot of sugars and fats will undoubtedly bring you down. Opt for lots of veggies, fruits and whole grains.

B-vitamins and Omega-3 fatty acids are important, so loading up on both of them will help repel unwanted depression. Although the carbs and Christmas leftovers are calling your name all winter long, there are actually a lot of healthy foods you can take advantage of this winter.

What you put in your body is vital to how you feel, so don’t try to drown your sorrows in bottles of Pinot Grigio. Large amounts of alcohol will only make your depression worse. There are a lot of common threads between alcoholism and depression, and studies have shown that the abuse of alcohol is likely to result in more negative thoughts.

4. Find Hobbies Inside

Sometimes you have no choice but to be stuck inside during the winter. The temperature is below zero and the roads are slippery. Though this scenario might not seem ideal, learn to make the most of it. Create a list of things around the house that you’d like to accomplish over the winter season, from cleaning your closet to baking a cake. This way, you’ll know just what to dive into when you’re feeling stranded and bored.

Karl’s note: Hobbies are a great way to bring more passion into your life. They help your personal and professional lives support each other.

5. Take Advantage of the Good Stuff

There are probably some things you actually love about the season. Maybe it’s ice skating, tapping into your scarf fetish or loading up on red velvet candles. Whatever it may be – indulge yourself. The more pleasure you find in these wintery treats, the less miserable the season will feel.

6. Bundle Up 

If you’re walking around under-bundled and taking the brunt of the cold, of course you’re going to hate winter. There’s nothing worse than shivering the days away. Get cozy by the fire, and shop for lots of wool this season. Always be prepared with a hat and gloves, just in case.

7. Find the Light

What’s missing from winter are those golden rays beating down on you. As it turns out, sunlight is important for treating seasonal depression. Serotonin, the chemical that normalizes your mood, is created when sunlight hits your skin. Open up the blinds in the morning because this is when getting light is the most crucial. You can also invest in a light therapy box, which is a great substitute when battling seasonal depression.

Sometimes we choose to sit and sulk when instead we should be taking action. Fight seasonal depression by integrating a few of these tips into your winter routine. Your mood will improve and you’ll be happier as you wait for the spring sunshine and blossoms.

What would you add to the list? Share a bit of your own avoiding the winter blues wisdom.

Sarah Landrum is the founder of Punched Clocks, a site dedicated to helping others find happiness and success in their careers. Follow her for more inspiring tips at @SarahLandrum

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