If you are finding it hard to be happy because you are suffering from the “winter blues,” you may be one of the 10 million Americans struggling with Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. As a mental health issue, SAD is more than just being down about the cold and gloom of the winter months — it actually tends to keep you down and affects you day after day. If you suspect you might have this disorder, you should talk to your doctor about it.
If you’re wondering how to beat those common winter blues, or looking for a way to improve your outlook (whether you have SAD or not), here are some things you can try.
Curling up with a cup of hot cocoa and a good book is great, as long as it’s giving you the peace of mind you need to pull you through the down times. But along with taking time to relax, try to incorporate some activities that include more physicality: an exercise group, an arts & crafts club, or embrace that weather and get out to do some cross country skiing or snowshoeing.
You can also boost your spirits by helping others. Read to elders at assisted living centers. Help out at your local elementary school. Organize a toy drive for the holidays or boost someone’s spirits with a surprise valentine. There are so many options, and it will be as good for you as it is for others.
During the winter months, it’s easy to indulge in warm comfort foods that aren’t always the best for you. While there’s something to be said for the comfort it brings, it can also weigh you down — literally. The average weight gain during the winter months is 5-7 pounds.
Stock your home with healthy food choices, and try to keep the processed foods to a minimum. While a little bit of comfort food now and then might serve a purpose, eating too much of it may only make you feel worse — especially if you already tend guilty when you eat something you’re trying to avoid. Eating healthy food has a way of making you feel lighter, which may support a more positive outlook.
The winter months are drier, so make sure that you are staying hydrated and getting plenty of Vitamin C. Do what you can to keep your immune system strong, since colds and flu are likely going around. And while it may seem easier to hunker down in your cozy home, try to get out and get some exercise, run errands, and do something fun.
Change Your Mindset
Sometimes the negativity we feel in the winter can be overcome by adapting how we think. If we choose to work on our mindset, that can make all the difference in keeping negativity at bay or bouncing back from it.
Starting the day with a positive affirmation can really help you keep your mind in a happy place for the rest of the day. Your morning routine could set you off on a positive or negative foot for the next 16 hours, so be mindful of how you begin the day.
It is also important to surround yourself with positivity if you want to stay in a happy place. Listen to positive music that makes you feel good. Spend time laughing with friends, and feed yourself with positive self-talk.
If negative emotional energy is hiding out in your body, you may be more likely to feel those emotions all the time. Energy healing with The Emotion Code® can help you let go of them. To balance your energy, you can release Trapped Emotions which could be holding you back from reaching your full potential or feeling your best self — especially in the winter!
Seasonal sadness can cause you to seek isolation, crawl under those covers and not come out until spring. It may be easier to beat the winter blues if you spend time with others who lift your spirits. Organize a “winter blues” group. Rotate locations and plan fun, uplifting events and activities. You could all learn to cook something new, invite new friends to an activity to get to know new people, or play games and have appetizers.
Celebrate the Season
Winter really can be a magical time — no matter where you live. Making the most of the season may help you enjoy it and look forward to it. Those who participate in snowshoeing, skiing, snowboarding, and cross country skiing are able to get out and make the most of the season. If it doesn’t snow where you live, make the most of the winter months by spending time outside before the heat of summer arrives.
Besides sports, the colder season is chock-full of holidays that can bring you cheer. Use them as a time to have fun and celebrate life. Even holidays that aren’t familiar to you can provide an excuse to do something fun or start a new tradition. There are so many opportunities:
Saint Nicholas Day
New Year’s Eve
New Year’s Day
Three Kings Day
Chinese New Year
Martin Luther King Day
Turn Seasonal Sad to Seasonal Glad
It doesn’t take much to power yourself through the cold season. Through a little mindfulness, gratitude, imagination, creativity, and courage, you can turn the winter blues into beautiful memories. Get out there and shed the sad.