How To Beat The Winter Blues

Vogue Australia, 10 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues

The cold, dark and nasty days of winter are no fun and even worse for some people it can trigger the winter blues.  Exposure to less sunlight from the shorter days can disrupt the circadian rhythm, the body’s biological clock connected to certain brain wave activity and hormone production. Mild and manageable symptoms like a general lack of energy and sluggishness can be characterized as "winter doldrums" while more serious symptoms including feelings of depression, hopelessness along with a lack of interest and concentration could mean seasonal affective disorder (SAD) has set in. While it's tempting to just go into hibernation mode and wait for it to pass, there are some scientifically proven ways to lift your mood and ease those feelings.

1. Get as much sunlight as possible
Draw the blinds, open the curtains, sit by the window, or get yourself a light therapy lamp. Studies have shown that just 30 minutes of daylight to be a proven mood lifter because of the way it activates the body clock.

2. Boost your mood with food
A well balanced diet is always a good bet for general physical and emotional health but there are certain foods which are better for boosting your mood and staving off anxiety. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon and walnuts have wonderful health and mood enhancing benefits. Citrus fruits and dark leafy greens which contain high amounts of folate are a good bet since this vitamin is instrumental to the production of serotonin which is linked to feeling good. Dark chocolate which is rich in antioxidants can help to improve your mood and relieve anxiety. Watch your sugar intake. While it may give you an initial surge, the subsequent crash could actually increase feelings of anxiety and depression, making you feel worse.

3. Move around
When we exercise, our bodies release chemicals called endorphins which create positive feelings while boosting energy. Exercise also releases adrenaline, serotonin, and dopamine which are all natural mood boosters. Exercising outside or under bright lights might be even better if possible.

4. Listen to music
Music can be an incredible mood booster. Studies have shown that listening to upbeat or happy music can significantly improve mood.

5. Get outside
While staying inside can be tempting when it's freezing, the isolation can be unhealthy and create mental stagnation.  Just going outside for a walk can go a long way to improving focus and energy while reducing symptoms of SAD. Run errands to feel productive and find ways to meet up with friends.

6. Clear the clutter
Your home environment can make a big difference in your mood and clutter can be mentally discouraging, causing unnecessary stress and anxiety so keep your home clean and tidy to avoid those feelings.

7. Get your Vitamin D
Known as the “sunshine vitamin” vitamin D plays a vital role in your mood since it supports the production of serotonin, the brain hormone associated with mood elevation and happiness. Good sources of vitamin D include milk, cheese, egg yolks and fatty fish. It's best to get vitamin D from sunlight and food but if you're not getting enough, you may want to consult with your doctor about adding a supplement.

8. Stick to a sleep schedule
Establishing a regular sleep routine of 6 to 8 hours of shut eye and going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day can help you to feel more in sync, alert and energized which can translate to better focus and concentration during the day. If you have trouble falling asleep, check out these habits I swear by for better sleep.

9. Be mindful
Just the simple act of slowing down and paying attention to the little things can go a long way to reawakening our senses and help us to enjoy and appreciate that which we might be taking for granted. Because sometimes we do need a little reminder of what really makes us happy.

10. Be kind to yourself
A little self care is always a good thing. Treat yourself to things that will make you feel good like a spa day or a massage. A relaxing bath or just curling up on the couch with a book can work too. As long as it makes you feel special and like you're doing something for yourself, it'll work.

I hope these suggestions provide a good starting point for dealing with the winter blues and moving yourself towards a place of more energy and joy. If you find your symptoms persist or progress, don't be afraid to seek professional help.

10 comments

  1. Winter blues suck! I mean...I'm glad I don't live in some of those Scandinavian countries where they rarely see the sun on winters, but it's still kinda depressing sometimes to have all this snow for months on end. I totally agree that going out and just going for a walk is such a big help, chingu:) Even when it's sometimes too cold, I try to go out if the sun's out.
    Have an awesome weekend:)

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  2. Oh yes I am using a daylight balanced light box as I write this and yes I take vitamin D. But honestly I do both of these things not to combat the winter blues but to combat migraines. But it does help for both

    Allie of
    www.allienyc.com

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  3. These are really great tips to combat the winter blues! Thanks for sharing!
    Kisses, Paola.

    Expressyourself

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  4. These are good tips for anytime of year I think! :) It's funny reading about winter while we are in a heatwave here though, I am wishing for cooler weather! :)

    Hope that your weekend is off to a great start! The cyclone that may have impacted us has moved further offshore which is good news, but we will still have a quiet weekend in case it comes back!

    Away From The Blue

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  5. I got myself a SAD lamp and it's made such a different to my mood, even for just an hour in the mornings xx

    GemmaEtc.com ❤️

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  6. Getting as much sunlight as possible is key, I totally agree with you Rowena! It's been quite sunny for the past week here in the UK and I'm loving it!! Hope you're having a lovely weekend so far :)

    Gabrielle | A Glass Of Ice x

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  7. I totally agree with your tips, dear Rowena! Therefore, I'm outside equal the weather and I swear on Vitamin D! I think it is up to each own how to manage the winter blues ... therefore, I think your post is helpful and important. Thanks for sharing!
    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena
    www.dressedwithsoul.com

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  8. These are great tips for beating the winter blues. I think being outdoors and getting involved in some kind of physical activity or sport is very important.

    https://modaodaradosti.blogspot.com/

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  9. These are some great tips. We are having a mild winter this year and I'm really hoping spring is just around the corner.

    http://www.henatayeb.blogspot.com

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  10. These are great tips. I get the saad during the winter time and it can be a struggle to even lift my head at times. It's so important to eat well and take care of yourself during these times as you can easily let it slip. Getting out in the sunlight helps me tremendously as well. Thankfully the sun has been showing itself much more now and I've been feeling lots better. Happy Monday lovely x

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