Does the dreary winter weather get you down? You’re not alone. When the days are short and the temperature drops, it’s difficult for many people to leave their bed let alone the house. If this sounds familiar, you’re most likely suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), otherwise known as the ‘winter blues.’ SAD is a type of depression that is linked with the changing seasons, mostly because of the lack of sunlight. If you’re like most people with SAD, you start feeling moody and fatigued in the late fall or early winter and start to cheer up with the sunnier days of spring and summer.
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But winter can be an awesome season to enjoy, which, yes, includes venturing outside. So here are some tips on how to lift your spirits and soothe your winter blues.
1. Go Outside
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Yes, baby, it’s cold outside. But you can do this. Pull on tons of cozy layers, including your cute hat and mittens, and prepare to have some serious winter fun. Text your besties and try a winter-based activity like skiing or ice skating together, or even go for a walk in the snow. You’ll be pleasantly surprised what a little fresh air and exercise (thank you endorphins!) can do to boost your mood.
2. Eat Some Good Food
Certain foods, like avocado and dark chocolate, are known to relieve anxiety and enhance your mood. So don’t forget to indulge with a square or two of your fave chocolate — after you munch on some delicious avocado toast, of course.
3. Volunteer at Your Fave Charity
Winter is the perfect time to give back to your community. Helping out at your local soup kitchen or volunteering at the nearest animal shelter will instantly soothe your soul and is an instant reminder about what’s truly important in life. Plus, when you see other people (or animals) feeling better, you’ll feel better too.
4. Take Up a New Hobby
Keeping your mind active with a new hobby is a great way to say good bye to those winter blues. When you’re feeling down it’s important that you have something to look forward to. So if you’re interested in taking up Zumba, writing a blog, or painting, now is the time to do it.
5. Work on Your Fitness
If you’ve been skipping out on the gym, now is THE time to get in those sweat sessions. Research has shown that walking 60 minutes a day three times a week (or for 35 minutes a day five times a week) improves symptoms of mild to moderate depression. Another reason to hit the gym? Exercising under bright lights has been discovered to elevate your mood and ward off depressive symptoms. So hop on that treadmill or elliptical machine, and work off those blues.
6. Keep Warm
Being cold is known to make you more depressed, so it’s best to keep warm as often as possible. If you can’t pull a Kardashian and jet off to a tropical island for a few months, then make sure you’re keeping cozy with lots of layers and blankets and warm foods and drinks, like soup, hot chocolate and your Mom’s homemade casseroles. Oh, and snuggling with your fave person — or puppy — works too.