12 Simple Ways to Overcome the Winter Blues
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Living in the Northeast, it’s almost a given that many of us will encounter the winter blues each year. Towards the end of September, the sunshine starts hiding and the days get gray and dreary. Whether you call them the “winter blues,” the “winter blahs,” the “seasonal blues,” or some other name, it’s not fun and, if you don’t take action, it could take over your life. And we don’t want that.
Let me preface all of this by saying that I am NOT a doctor or any sort of medical professional. I am a blogging mom who lives in New Jersey. I love the feeling of my toes in the warm sand just as much as I love throwing snowballs, but…if I let my guard down, the winter blues can get the best of me. I’ve found some things that have helped me to make the dreary gray days a bit brighter, but, if you are experiencing ANY bit of ick that you just can’t shake, please consider seeking help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is just a phone call away at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or TTY at 1-800-799-4TTY (4889). In addition, you can text the Crisis Text Line (HELLO to 741741) or visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website. Please take care of yourself.
That being said, I’d love to share a few of my favorite ways to overcome the winter blues. Some are free, some require a bit of money, but take a look through and see if there are some options that could work for you.
12 Things I do to Overcome the Winter Blues
1. Beat the Winter Blues by Wearing Bright Clothing
Now, I’m not saying that you need to dress head-to-toe in bright colors, but colors can definitely have an impact on our emotions. Have you ever noticed that, on rainy days, you probably tend to wear more black, gray or blue? You’re pretty much matching the weather, right? Well, if you’re anything like me, when you’re feeling down, you tend to wear more black or gray clothing.
When I’m feeling the winter blahs, I make a conscious effort to bring the colorful clothes to a more accessible area of my closet. I keep the black and gray clothes easy to reach as a neutral to pair with a colorful top or bright leggings, but try not to wear ALL black or ALL gray.
Try it out for yourself! The next time you’re feeling the winter blues, do your best to get dressed in the morning (don’t just sit around in your pajamas all day) and put on some bright, happy colors.
2. Beat the Winter Blahs by using a Light Therapy Lamp
I had been wanting to get a light therapy lamp for quite some time and finally ordered one last month! I purchased this Miroco brand lamp and have been using it at least once a day ever since it was delivered. It’s meant to simulate sunshine and, let me tell you, I feel like it’s made a huge difference in my mood.
My light therapy lamp sits on my desk (it can be wall mounted, too) and, every morning when I come into the office to start working, I’ll turn the lamp on for 60 minutes at a time. If it’s a particularly overcast day, I’ll often put the lamp on again in the afternoon, too.
3. Beat the Winter Blues with Fresh Fruits & Vegetables
Although I have absolutely had success following a Keto way of life, when I’m feeling down, I am ALL for carbs and snack foods! Give me all the pastas, breads, and sugary foods. As tasty as they can be while consuming, when I stray from Keto, I pretty much immediately notice a decline in my overall happiness and energy level.
I am NOT saying that you need to start following a Keto diet, but, adding some fresh fruits and veggies to your meals and snacks can help to make a world of difference. We’re lucky enough to live in a world where fresh fruits and vegetables can be readily available, so, if you’re able to, do what you can to take advantage of that. In most areas, you could even have those fruits and veggies delivered right to your doorstep.
4. Beat the Winter Blahs with Flowers or Plants
While you’re placing your order for fruits and veggies, add a bouquet of flowers or a potted plant to that order. Bring some life IN to your space while there’s so much blah outside. If possible, I’d suggest purchasing a flower or plant that both looks AND smells wonderful. That way, you’ll be able to benefit from both the visual and aromatic beauty!
5. Beat the Winter Blues with Essential Oils
Again, I’m not a medical doctor or health professional, BUT…diffusing orange essential oils in the winter time do help me to beat the winter blues. Some oils cannot be diffused around pets and children (and/or can be dangerous with certain health conditions), so please do your research before addition essential oils into your world. The Plant Therapy brand has some excellent resources that can help with that.
Anyways, as for me, I like to diffuse orange essential oils because smelling oranges reminds me of sunshine and…if I’m being totally honest, it reminds me of the original Soarin’ Ride in Walt Disney World’s EPCOT park. If thinking of sunshine and Soarin’ makes you happy, too, diffusing orange essential oils could be beneficial for you as well!
6. Beat the Winter Blahs by being Social
No, I don’t mean socializing online. No, I don’t mean having a Zoom conference. Get OFF of social media and interact with some actual people. Plan to meet a friend for a cup of coffee or grab lunch with your aunt. Actually getting out of the house and getting together with someone you enjoy being with can make a world of difference.
If you’re not able to meeting with a friend or family member in person, give them a call. Remember when phones only had one main purpose? Log off the social media apps and make a phone call. I have a weekly phone call with my aunt and it helps me SO much to hear her voice and get to escape the craziness of life while chatting with her.
7. Beat the Winter Blues by Vacationing
Ok, I realize this suggestion isn’t necessarily a budget-friendly option, but hear me out! Planning a vacation will give you something to look forward to and something to get excited about. When the winter blues have you down, having something like a vacation to look forward to can make a world of difference.
Whether you’re planning a quick one-night getaway with your special someone or planning a full-blown family vacation to Disney, it can be fun to research vacation activities and read blogs to learn more about your upcoming vacation.
For a variety of reasons, my family tries to take a vacation in the month of February. Not only is February super cold in our area, but, years ago, I had trauma occur in the month of February. February is a tough month for me. Planning a vacation gives me something to look forward to and has helped to ease the stress and memories of this particular month.
8. Beat the Winter Blahs by Reading a New Book
Take a mini escape by reading a book! If dealing with the seasonal blues, I would suggest staying away from darker topics. Pick a topic that’ll make you happy and go for it! If you prefer hard copies of books, you can check out some of these best selling titles.
If you like digital books and have an Amazon Prime membership, your membership actually allows you to download select books for FREE! In addition, if you have a local library membership, many are signed up with digital borrowing apps like hoopla and overdrive.
You might even consider joining a book club and having a discussion with others about the book. A quick search on Facebook could bring up nationwide and local groups that you could join. (Here’s one bookclub I’m in!)
9. Beat the Winter Blues by Cooking a Meal
Do you usually eat lots of grilled foods in the summer, too? Lots of fresh salads, fish tacos, and fruits? When I’m feeling down, sometimes I’ll cook a meal that will remind me of the warmer weather.
A quick bite into a grilled burger will take me back to a 4th of July celebration. Eating grilled zucchini will remind me of time spent in our summer vegetable garden. A fresh caprese salad will remind me of family dinners on our patio and how my boys get so excited to pick Jersey tomatoes from our garden.
If you’re not able to get outside to use the grill, consider “grilling” inside with a cast iron grill/griddle. (Just make sure that your cooktop can handle the weight of the cast iron)
10. Beat the Winter Blahs by Taking Time for Self Care
“Self Care” can mean different things for everybody, so, you do whatever it means to you! For me, self care means relaxing with a face mask on or indulging in my favorite tv show…in the middle of the day! To me, self care is when I take the time to do my nails, when I get to read a book (a la suggestion #8), or when I get to enjoy a massage. Take the time to do something for yourself and I’m willing to bet you’ll feel worlds better afterwards!
11. Beat the Winter Blues by Going Outside
Yep, I said it – go outside! That same gray sky and cold weather that’s got us down could actually have a positive impact on your mood. Take a walk with the family or by yourself. Go for a hike in the woods. Take a moment to be with nature and soak in all the marvels that surround us. Notice the changing of the season and the sounds your feet make when they touch the ground. Listen to the sounds around you. Breath in the air fragranced with a wood-burning fireplace. Ground yourself.
Of course, if it’s freezing cold outside, please don’t spend a ton of time out there, but even a moment spent in nature could be a literal breath of fresh air to your mood.
12. Beat the Winter Blahs by Listening to Music
Quite possibly my favorite option for overcoming the winter blues, music has been a part of my life since I can remember. Whenever I’m feeling down, listening to my favorite music will, almost immediately, make me feel better. Whether you get cozy in your favorite chair with a set of ear buds or tell Alexa to play 90s Alternative Rock (just saying!) so you can dance in the kitchen, if you ask me, music can make (almost) anything better.
You can Overcome the Winter Blues
We all have our good days and our bad days and I’m hoping these suggestions will help you to have more good than bad. What do YOU typically do to help combat the winter blahs? Let me know in the comments below! I’m always open to more suggestions and would love to help pass them along to our readers.