With shorter, darker, colder days, it’s no surprise that so many people experience the winter blues. Waking up when it’s dark, going to the gym in the blistering cold, and saying goodbye to the sun at 4pm is never fun. But there are small, practical things you can do to try and combat these winter blues, and actually enjoy the winter season.
Here are just a few of our top tips for beating those dreary winter blues and re-discovering your motivation.
1. Keep to usual routines
As soon as the clocks change, it’s easy to feel like all of your usual routines are out the window. But that doesn’t have to be the case. Finding and sticking to routine can be very useful in helping you feel grounded and more in control of what’s going on around you. Helping you to cope even in times of stress.
If you’re used to working out in the mornings, keep doing that, and vice versa if you’re more of a gym night owl.
Keeping routine with your sleep schedule is also very important. Staying consistent in when you go to bed and when you wake up (even on weekends!) helps you feel refreshed, awake and boosts your mood for the day.
We know you already know this. But just to make it clear: exercise does wonders for your mood.
Releasing endorphins daily can be the boost you need to keep your mental health in check. Find whatever way you enjoy moving, whether that’s a bracing run in the mornings, or lifting weights in the gym on the daily.
Having something like an exercise routine, and fitness goals to focus on can be a godsend for when you’re feeling down in the dumps. It allows you a mental break from life, even if just for half an hour, and allows you to focus on something that’s purely for your own self-improvement.
3. Make (and eat) good food
Food is the way to the hearts of many of us. Spending time cooking good food, and making a labor of love over the stove is the perfect way to switch off. Put some music on or a podcast and enjoy some time for yourself, or some quality time with a loved one, cooking good food.
Make your favorites, or enjoy seasonal winter recipes — whatever you know will make you feel best, make it!
Need some inspo? Try making these delicious fakeaways.
4. Get out whenever you can
One of the main culprits for the winter blues is the lack of light we get in the winter months. Try to make time for a walk each day whilst it’s light so that you get a hit of vitamin D and fresh air.
Walking for just 10 minutes a day can elevate your mood tenfold. And with a lot of us working from home part of the week, it’s much easier to get out and walk a little bit every day, even if it’s just around your block.
This step is made even better if you have a dog to walk.
5. Enjoy the novelties of winter
Even though winter can be a time of sadness for a lot of people, there are a lot of winter novelties to take advantage of that often get overlooked when you’re suffering from the winter blues.
Make a day of putting the Christmas decorations up with your family, listening to music, watching your favorite movies and snuggling up on the sofa. Enjoy the crisp winter walks that you can’t get at any other time of year. And walk around to see all of the Christmas lights around your area, before snuggling up with some hot chocolate at the end of the day.
All of these are only around over the winter months, so make the most of them.
The saying might be “spring clean” but having a de-clutter is a mood boost at any time of year.
The end of the year is the perfect time to go through any clutter you have, and throw out anything you no longer need, ready for the new year.
Do a big clean of your house or apartment, and you’ll instantly feel more organized and in control of your environment, which is a huge benefit to mental health.
7. Speak to friends and family
Perhaps the most important tip on this list. Always reach out to those around you for a chat whenever you feel the winter blues coming in.
Offloading your worries on someone you know, even if there is no practical solution at the end of it, puts your worries in perspective, and allows that person to reach out to help you feel better.
Please also always reach out to a professional when you’re struggling with mental health issues.
Take Home Message
The winter blues are very common, and there’s no shame in it. Making some practical changes in your life, and doing positive actions for your mental health is always a good place to start when you feel them creeping in.
Always reach out to a professional if you’re struggling with mental health issues, and speak to your GP for support.