Are you missing the sun and cursing the cold? Do holiday stress and shorter days have you feeling grumpy and lethargic? Try these tips and say goodbye to the winter blues. If you’re experiencing symptoms of something more serious — such as depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder — be sure to seek advice and treatment from your doctor.
Brighten your day
On dark winter days, a little extra daylight can make a major difference. When possible, open the curtains or sit close to a window to soak up some natural light, which produces serotonin that can help boost your mood. For dark mornings, try a dawn simulator to gradually light up your bedroom as you awaken. For your workplace or living room, you can also buy artificial lights that simulate natural light.
Get some exercise
It’s tempting to stay indoors on the couch when the weather is cold and gray, but a short exercise session might be just what you need instead. Everyday Health recommends at least 20 daily minutes of brisk activity to help lift your mood and reduce stress. When you can, get that exercise outside — even if it’s only a short walk. You’ll reap the benefits of movement, and you’ll also add some much-needed natural light to your day.
As the days get shorter and chillier, make sure you’re getting all the sleep you need each night — at least seven or eight hours’ worth. Dr. Jacqueline Gollan, a professor of psychiatry at Northwestern University, tells Everyday Health that it’s important to follow a regular sleep schedule. If possible, go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning, even on weekends. This will help stabilize your sleep cycle as you get used to darker days.
Eating healthy food can help improve your outlook when winter gets you down. According to Healthline, some of the best mood-boosting foods you can eat include lean proteins, leafy greens, milk and eggs, berries, bananas and even an occasional serving of dark chocolate. These foods contain vitamins and nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, folic acid, vitamin D and vitamin B-12 to nourish your mind and body. At the same time, try to cut back on fast food and sugary desserts. The temporary lift you get isn’t worth the long-term health drawbacks.
Spend time with others
This winter, resist the urge to hibernate and isolate yourself from friends and family. Clinical psychologist Josh Klapow tells Huffington Post that connecting with others can be a good way to lift your mood and prevent feelings of depression. You don’t have to be the life of the party to benefit, either: Even a brief period of social interaction, like lunch with a friend or an afternoon of volunteering, can make your winter blues more bearable.
Don’t let winter’s frigid gloom ruin the season for you. Following these tips can help restore your energy and lift your spirits — and before you know it, spring will be here once again.