10 Great Ways to Avoid the Winter Blues
It doesn’t have to be officially Winter for us to get the Winter blues. But of course, it’s more likely in winter. And depending on where you live, Winter may be slow to leave.
If you find you’re feeling sluggish or cranky or down, you might have the Winter Blues (or Seasonal Affective Disorder known as SAD).
Of course, you could get a prescription from your doctor.
Or, try these 10 eco-friendly, non-prescription, easy methods to banish the lingering winter blues.
1. Get more daylight (or sun, if you’re lucky!)
This might be easy to say, but how?
- If you are close to a window, open the blinds and let the light in. Angle your chair so you can catch the warmth of the sun if it shines, or at least the daylight.
- If you don’t have a window (for example in an office or basement), take a break and go outside and find a well-lit, perhaps even sunny spot to sit. Feeling the warmth of sunlight is the very best way to get rid of the winter blues.
- Sit next to a window in a restaurant or class.
Try to get sunlight as early as possible in the day.
If getting sunlight is really difficult, consider replacing (or getting your boss to replace) florescent office lighting with LED panels which mimic the sky. They can be configured to display a variety of weather conditions. They’re fairly expensive right now because they’re new, but the price is expected to drop as their popularity increases, and they show a productivity improvement of 15% as well as being cheaper to run (and more eco-friendly) than florescent lighting.
A cheaper option is a daylight-mimic lamp , also known as light therapy. Your body will think it’s soaking up sunlight.
2. Brighten your work and living spaces
It could be really cheering to paint everywhere yellow, but you can also add instant colour (red, crimson, magenta, yellow, orange) via picture frames, cushions, rugs, desk accessories and so on.
Consider adding mirrors to maximise the apparent space and – more importantly, the sunlight – you get in a room.
It’s really quite difficult to have the winter blues in a cheerful, bright room!
3. Cheer up with a Plant
Plants inside the home or your office space provide a great focal point and have the added benefit of cleaning the air you breathe. Perhaps surprisingly, plants can lift your mood and thus help to reduce the winter blues.
If you’re not good with plants, consider a terrarium – a mini eco-system which mostly takes care of itself, making it perfect for a busy lifestyle.
4. Get your Vitamins!
Vitamin D deficiency is more common now as people spend less time outdoors.
You can get extra vitamin D as a supplement – but it’s much better to eat these foods which are high in D to avoid the winter blues: Atlantic herring, catfish, oysters, cod liver oil, canned salmon, sardines canned in tomato sauce, soymilk, fresh orange juice or from concentrate, milk, or Quaker instant oatmeal. Click here for a comprehensive list of foods with lots of vitamin D.
5. Work It Out!
Physical exercise improves your mental health as well as your physical fitness. But more importantly for the winter blues, when your heart rate goes up and you sweat, your body releases endorphins which reduce stress, boost self-esteem and improve sleep.
If you’ve got the winter blues, you may be tempted to stay indoors and sleep or eat. When you’re feeling blue is the exact time you need to get out and socialize! Make a commitment to do a certain number of social activities each week – and stick to it.
7. Eat Properly
It’s tempting to eat processed foods such as white bread, sugar and junk or convenience food, but these types of food cause your energy levels to droop, don’t provide nutrients and can make you feel the winter blues even more!
Eat lots of fresh fruit and veggies and drink plenty of water. Reduce or avoid alcohol as it’s a depressant.
8. Plan a Treat
Something to look forward to is a great motivator, and a great way of avoiding those winter blues. Plan a weekend away, or a boys’ / girls’ night out, a spa treatment, a sporting event, a party……
Also, try to spend just a few minutes each day doing nothing. Or, read a book, take a yoga class, go to bed early. Relaxation (especially in the form of yoga) can help you to de-stress and avoid the winter blues.
9. Change Something
Change your hairstyle, reach out to a lost friend, wear something bright and bold. Something new and interesting will help you avoid the winter blues.
10. Appreciate it!
Enjoy watching (or participating in) winter sports – basketball is only played till March, for example, so appreciate it now! Roaring fires are delightfully cheering – you won’t need one for much longer so enjoy it now!
These are all great ways to reduce the winter blues – try some or all of them . Today. You’ll be glad you did!
Please share this post – sharing buttons below and right – thank you!
What do you do when you get the winter blues? Let me know in the Comments below
Editor’s Note: This post was originally written in 2012. It has been updated with new information.