10 Easy Steps to Beat the Winter Blues
If you live in the northern hemisphere, winter is in full swing for you. While some people love the cold, snow, and shorter days, others are affected dramatically by the seasonal changes this time of year.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) affects around 12 million people in Europe alone! The disorder doesn’t play favorites, affecting people of all ages, backgrounds, and location.
When you’re in a slump, here are ten of the very best tips to beat the winter blues.
Stay active. Research shows that a midday walk is helpful for coping during this cold season. It gets your heart pumping and limbs moving. One 2005 study from Harvard University found 35-minute walks 5 times a week improved mild to moderate symptoms of depression.
Get outside. There is nothing like fresh air, no matter what time of year, to liven things up and give a little pick-me-up. Don’t let the weather hold you back! Plan ahead by bundling up and bringing something warm to drink.
Take up a new hobby. Sometimes all you can do to get through winter is to keep your mind active and off how cold it is outside. New hobbies and interests are a great way to keep you preoccupied. Wintertime is a great time for taking up indoor interests to pass the long, dark nights.
Make it brighter. Light therapy can help battle seasonal depression. You can purchase light boxes that produce a close mimic of natural light. Many people find sitting in this light for 10-20 minutes a day helps with SAD. Also, open up curtains and trim back tree branches to let as much natural light into your home as possible.
Be with loved ones. Simply being with friends and family can help you cope with the seasonal blues. It’s sometimes all too easy to lock ourselves in during wintertime, but socializing often helps keep us from getting stuck in a rut.
Help others. It’s easy to get into an unhealthy pattern of feeling sorry for oneself in the winter. By reaching out and helping others in our community, whether it’s serving food at a local shelter or offering to watch a single parent’s children, you can successfully put aside your own problems and boost your mood.
Eat a healthy diet. Highly processed foods are not only devoid of nutrients, but they can actually zap your energy levels, causing mood swings and depression. Choose whole foods like brown rice, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables to provide adequate nutrition to your brain and to keep your blood sugar and energy stable.
Hydrate. In the winter, you often don’t crave a cool, refreshing glass of ice water like you do during the hot summer days. This can lead to dehydration, which causes headaches and mood swings, and impairs your ability to fight off sickness. Be sure to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.
Treat yourself. Sometimes the only way to get through the short, dark days of winter is by looking forward to something. Plan weekend trips, time with family, mini vacations, or days at the spas. Little treats help motivate you when you’re feeling down.
Embrace the season. Partake in the things that make this time of year so special. Get outside and build a snowman with the kids, go ice-skating, or take your spouse to a seasonal festivity. Viewing winter in a positive light will not only help you battle your blues, but also not dread next winter’s quite as much as well.
Here’s to a happy, healthy winter! We hope these tips encourage you to take care of yourself this season and help beat the winter blues.
 NHS.UK (2015). Beating the winter blue. Accessed 11/20/2015. Retrieved from http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/pages/dealing-with-winter-blues-sad.aspx.
 Hauck, B. (n.d.). 8 scientifically-backed ways to beat the winter blues. Accessed 11/201/2015. Retrieved from http://www.realsimple.com/health/mind-mood/emotional-health/winter-blues.