5 Tips to Help Shake Off Your Frosty Winter Blues
Winter is finally here and for some it’s a welcome relief to the blistering heat that Aussie summers have. For others however, the long nights, chilly weather and lack of sun can make winter one of the most difficult periods of the year. The winter blues as they call it, is a real phenomenon and affects many people.
So how can you break out of winter funk and start enjoying the frosty weather? In this article we’ll discover what the winter blues exactly are, why it happens and how you can say goodbye to them! So shake the frost off and let’s jump right in.
What are the winter blues?
The winter blues can be classified as a seasonal affective disorder, otherwise known as SAD. SAD usually begins and ends at about the same times every year. For those whose seasonal affective disorder happens during winter, the lack of sunlight is one of the biggest culprits behind your low energy and moodiness. Sunlight can stimulate the release of serotonin, a natural chemical that is responsible for feelings of joy and happiness.
However, the winter months are filled with dark, cold, long days with shorter daylight hours. This leads to feelings of lethargy, moodiness and sedentary behaviour. You might suffer from low energy levels and be tempted to stay in bed all day, overeat or sleep too much. These behaviours are common symptoms of depression and if left unchecked can lead to more serious mental issues and major depressive episodes.
The winter blues hit even harder for those already dealing with anxiety and depression, so it’s important to learn how to stave those depressive feelings away.
How to deal with the winter blues
What sets seasonal affective disorder apart from other mental disorders is the fact that it is likely to go away once the seasons change. It’s getting through those 3 months which is the biggest challenge. Making sure your blues don’t turn into bigger things is the goal behind these 5 tips to wave your winter blues away.
Tip 1 – Plan something to look forward to
One of the most helpful things you can do to get through the cold, winter months is to have something to look forward to. Planning anything that will be fun or relaxing can make the days go by much faster. It can be something social, or something for yourself, like a new hobby or massage session.
They don’t have to be massive events like a holiday either. Even something as simple as a night out with close friends can be enough to distract your mind from the long winter months.
Tip 2 – Get in the gym
You’ve probably just let a long groan at the sight of that title, but going to the gym can help break up your day and get you out of the winter blues slog. Exercise has been shown to release endorphins which boost your mood, helping you feel better about the cold weather and dark nights.
You don’t have to limit yourself to going to an actual indoor gym either. Consider heading outside to go for a run where you’ll be able to enjoy the winter version of the great outdoors.
Tip 3 – Get some chores done
Do you have a long laundry list of chores and tasks that’s piled up because you were too busy in the summer? Now is the perfect time to start checking things off the chores list.
Organise your closet, dust off those wardrobes, wash the car – all these things might seem trivial or a bore but completing these tasks can in fact boost your mood and give you a sense of accomplishment (a feeling you might have not felt all winter long).
Tip 4 – Try not to wallow in your sadness
Easier said than done for sure, but continuing to whinge and complain about the cold weather or lack of sunlight can only make your depressive feelings even worse. When you complain, you aren’t really venting – instead you’re reinforcing the idea that winter cannot be enjoyed whatsoever.
Accepting the reality and embracing the fact that this is a temporary feeling can help you feel infinitely better, less stressed and upset and will positively change your outlook on winter.
Tip 5 – Be grateful
Winter isn’t all gloom and doom. When you’re really feeling down and the winter blues are at its strongest, try asking yourself what you actually like about winter – even if you can only think of one, tiny thing.
Is it the fact you get to rug up in bed? Or maybe it’s the fact you get to rest and catch up on your favourite tv shows? Or maybe you just enjoy that warm feeling of having a coffee on a frosty morning?
Coming up with positive feelings about the cold winter months might be hard but when you do, it can turn your winter blues around and change your opinion on the season.
Let your winter blues go
It’s completely normal to feel sad and experience the winter blues. Winter isn’t for everyone and it naturally lends itself to behaviour similar to hibernation. But hopefully these tips have made you more active, both physically and mentally this winter. And as always, if your winter depression is getting to the point where you feel ‘frozen’ with life, be sure to contact your local mental health professional.
This article about the winter blues is just the tip of the iceberg of the wellness articles you can find at the OSIM Wellness Blog. Head there now to find more information that enriches your life and helps you live a life of wellbeing and health.