It’s been a very mild winter here in New England. Yet, we still get our share of those grey and gloomy days. Here at Rose Colored Glasses, we have done some research to put together a shortlist reminder of things you can do if you’re feeling those dull, lethargic winter blues. From mindfully choosing to get outside when the sun is shining, to revamping an energizing winter playlist, there’s so much you can do to beat those winter blues! Have a look here:
1. Get Moving to Beat Those Winter Blues
Studies show over and over that exercise is a great way to lift your spirits and even prevent depression. Simply walking for 30 minutes a day five times a week can have a significant impact on your mood. Bundle up and go for a walk, jump on a stationary bike, download a virtual kickboxing class, or dance around your living room. If you can exercise outside, absorbing natural daylight before 10 am, is even more beneficial.
My favorite online exercise class this year is the class. Try taking a class with Natalie! She is amazing.
2. Lighten Up During the Darker Winter Months
During these dark months, your body and brain crave more daylight, which is responsible for making your body release the feel-good hormone serotonin. Experts say that between 50% and 80% of people who get the winter blues can get partial or complete relief from bright light therapy, applied by sitting next to artificial light – also called a lightbox for half an hour a day. You can place the lamp on a desk or table while you eat breakfast or work and reap the benefits. Or, take breaks and head outside during the day, even when it’s cold, to get some natural sunshine.
3. Stick to a Regular Sleep Routine
Another tip for beating the winter blues is to focus your attention on getting the proper amount of sleep every day. Although you may want to stay buried under your bed covers on dark, cold mornings, studies show it’s best to stick with a regular sleep schedule — which means waking up at the same times on weekdays and weekends. According to the National Sleep Foundation guidelines, it’s essential to get at least seven hours of sleep every night for your overall health. If you find you can’t wake up, try a dawn simulator, a device that causes the lights in your bedroom to brighten over a set period gradually. The simulator can serve as an antidepressant, making it easier to get out of bed and start your day.
4. Eat Certain Foods to Improve Your Mood
Certain foods, such as dark chocolate, can enhance your mood and even relieve anxiety. Candy and carbohydrates, like cookies or chips, on the other hand, feel good when you’re eating them. But later, when your blood sugar crashes, it can ultimately increase feelings of anxiety and depression. Try being extra mindful with your diet during the winter by limiting sugar, alcohol, and fast foods. Try adding dark leafy greens, walnuts, seeds, turkey, avocados, berries, and oranges to help naturally fight off those winter blues.
5. Listen to an Upbeat Playlist and Dance the Winter Blues Away
Take the time to create an upbeat playlist! I don’t know about you, but sometimes I find the whole playlist idea overwhelming. I see my daughter’s multiple lists, shared lists and feel like I’m way out of my league. I recently tried making my own winter playlist with Spotify, and it took me only 10 minutes to create a list of over 50 songs. My winter playlist has songs by artists like Stevie Nicks, The Weeknd, Justin Bieber, and Pat Benatar. My friend Michael is completely hooked on Dionne Warwick right now! Have fun creating your playlists! For more on how to do this, look here.
6. Give Yourself Manageable Tasks to Accomplish
There is something so satisfying about the feeling of accomplishment. Consider making easy, manageable to-do lists to keep you on track and feeling happy that you achieved your goals at the end of the day.
Winter could be an ideal time to take a closer look at your habits. Have you read Atomic Habits? It was my favorite book from last year. It’s full of tips on how to build habits into your life. Using a habit tracker can also be helpful.
7. Beat the Winter Blues by Staying Connected
No matter what is happening, take the time to stay connected. I don’t know about you, but I’ve found that many of my friends, and sometimes myself, have gone more inward. Maybe I’m just tired of this remote connecting. But, every time I get on a Zoom call with friends or get out for a hike with a neighbor, I’m so glad I did. Also, consider these creative ideas for connecting while apart.
8. Lastly: Be Kind to Yourself
Place your hands upon your heart and remind yourself how amazing you are. You’ve managed to adjust to so many changes over this past year. When you fall off track and have a day at home in your pajamas, bingeing Netflix, just let it go. Tomorrow is a new day.