When winter's been at it for a while and the days are dreary, it can be easy for the winter blues to creep in. For many people, this blah-like feeling can be hard to shake; sometimes it's all you can do to get motivated enough to just get out the door! If you struggle with keeping your spirits up during the colder, darker months, below are some tips to help you fight off those nagging winter blues.
1. Increase your Vitamin D intake.
Shorter, cloudier days mean less sunlight, and since the sun is one of the primary ways that we get Vitamin D, we can be running low on this vital nutrient during the winter without even realizing it. Several ailments, including depression, are associated with low Vitamin D levels, so it's a good idea to load up on Vitamin D during the cold months in order to maintain adequate levels of this nourishing organic compound.
You can get Vitamin D from foods such as salmon, milk, eggs, swordfish, yogurt, and cod liver oil, and you can also buy Vitamin D supplements in tablet or liquid form (try to shoot for at least 2,000 IU a day).
Countless studies have shown that exercising releases chemicals in the body known as endorphins, which can boost your mood and give you an overall "feel good" vibe. You'll feel good physically as well, because exercise will increase your energy levels, bolster your immune system, and help you sleep better at night.
To get yourself out of the house but not braving the elements, try an indoor fitness facility such as Five Seasons Family Sports Club. Not only will you have access to a wide range of exercise equipment and fitness classes, but you can also enjoy swimming or playing tennis indoors, too.
3. Start an indoor project.
If the blustery weather is simply too harsh to permit any outdoor activities, that's a prime time for you to start working on those indoor projects that you've been thinking about for the longest time. It could be reorganizing your file cabinet, cleaning out your garage, purging your closet of old clothes, or even painting a particular room in the house. Keeping your mind occupied by doing something constructive can stave off those gloomy feelings of boredom or listlessness.
4. Learn something new.
Tying into the previous point, keeping your mind occupied by learning new things is a great way to prevent the winter blues from settling in. Perhaps you could try your hand at learning a new musical instrument, cooking some new recipes, or even developing some new crafty skills.
You can also check your local library to find out what types of free classes they might be offering (e.g., art, foreign languages, writing, etc.); you never quite know what might capture your interest until you try it. In addition, there's an absolutely massive amount of free resources online that you can tap into to learn something new. Try websites such as Coursera, Udemy, Khan Academy, or OpenCulture for amazing (and FREE) courses on practically anything you can think of.
5. Get lost in a book.
Many people wish they read more, and winter time is the perfect time to light a candle, pull a cozy blanket around your shoulders, and settle in with a new book and a warm mug of tea or hot chocolate. Tip: If you're already struggling with feeling low, it may not be the best idea to stock up on books with somber, sad, or depressing themes. Try something lighthearted or humorous, or read something that takes place in a completely fantastical world or exotic country to take you away and help you keep your spirits up.
If there's a common theme among the tips for how to fight the winter blues listed above, it would be to keep yourself occupied. Do your best not to let those cold, gray days stop you from staying physically active and keeping your mind engaged in constructive activities.