Cold, long days and dark nights can take a toll on a person’s mood during the winter months. However, you can address feelings of the “winter blues” in a number of ways.
Get Some Sun
Even if you aren’t able to book a trip to the tropics, you can still get your daily dose of Vitamin D. Consider walking outside, opening your curtains, or sitting close to windows during the day to soak in some rays. (Note: Don’t forget the sunscreen! Sunburn is still possible in the winter—especially when sunlight reflects off the snow.)
Research indicates exercise is a great way to boost a person’s mood. Bundle up for a stroll or head to the mall and do a few laps—even a simple walk can do wonders! Having an exercise buddy can help keep you accountable.
It can be tempting to flake on social engagements when it’s cold outside, but time with friends and loved ones can significantly impact your mood. If you have a tendency to hibernate or spend time alone in the winter, ask a friend or family member to encourage you to be more social.
Volunteer or Help Others
Research shows that volunteering leads to lower rates of depression and can enhance a person’s social networks to buffer stress—all beneficial to a person’s mental health.
Stick to a Sleep Routine
In the dark, winter months, you may be tempted to sleep in—especially on weekends. According to the National Sleep Foundation, sticking to a sleep schedule of the same bedtime and wake time (even on weekends) helps regulate your body’s clock. This can help you fall asleep and stay asleep through the night, which means you will get more restful sleep.
Listen to Some Happy Tunes
To actively improve your mood, play uplifting music around the house or at your work desk. Cheerful music can boost your mood!
If you have concerns about your mood or mental well-being, we encourage you to speak with your provider. Many people experience a mild version of the winter blues. However, others may have a more severe type of depression known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of depression that comes and goes with the season. In such instances, your provider can help you determine a plan of action to get you back to feeling your best.