For as long as I can remember, winter’s bummed me out. I get super lethargic. I start thinking my life is terrible. I never want to go anywhere or do anything and my motivation drains out of me. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I heard about SAD and realized that tons of other people have the same problem! It wasn’t that my life suddenly turned terrible from November through March…it was just the winter blues. I use the term “winter blues” because I’m just talking about the garden variety, relatively mild blahness that affects a lot of people in the winter. I am not talking about serious depression, which is way, way different. And as you can probably tell, I’m not a doctor. So nothing I say should be considered medical advice. This is just what works for me! And if you are seriously depressed, or if you even think you’re seriously depressed, please please please visit a doctor! Okay, note over!
Here are my tips for getting over the winter blues. These are the things that help me not feel miserable when the sun’s not out and snow’s on the ground.
1. Exercise. I cannot emphasize this enough. Listen, I’m not saying you have to join a gym. I certainly don’t belong to one. But it’s super, crazy, incredibly important to get some sort of physical activity most days. It doesn’t have to be intense! A walk is a-okay (and has the added benefit of getting you out of your house). I’m a big fan of DVDs, specifically the 30 Day Shred or any yoga workout. Endorphins make you feel happy. I don’t understand biology enough to explain this (I majored in English), but I know how I feel after I work out. For me, exercise is the BIGGEST part of kicking the winter blues in the ass.
2. Eat right/don’t eat too many pancakes. I don’t believe in restrictive diets, I don’t believe in “bad” foods, and I don’t believe in cutting anything out of your diet. That being said, eating too many carbs when you feel terrible is a recipe for an awful day. If you wake up feeling bad and then eat a plate full of pancakes, you just bought yourself a one-way ticket to sleeping all day and hating yourself. The best way to feel better? Lots and lots of fruits and vegetables. Make sure you’re getting plenty of protein and fiber, too! A fun fact about how annoying I am–at every meal, I try to eat fat, protein, produce, and fiber. “FPPF” is a thing I think in my head, because I am crazy. The protein and fiber keep you full and give you energy, while the fruits and vegetables give you vitamins and minerals and keep you feelin’ fine. Like I said, I don’t believe in restricting your food intake, but you need to make sure you’re eating healthy, high-quality food if you want to feel your best and stay productive.
3. Stay away from sad things. This is maybe not the best time to watch Blue Valentine. You already feel bad, right? So you don’t need to be thinking things like, “I don’t know, is true love real? Does it ever even last? If Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams can’t make it work, then who can?” Save it for summertime. This goes double for most documentaries.
4. Go out sometimes. I know you don’t want to. I know you’re in your pajamas already. I know the last thing you want to do is leave the comfort of your house and go out in public where you have to talk to people and smile and wear pants. I get it! But if you haven’t seen anyone besides your coworkers and your significant other for two weeks, you’re going to get a little stir crazy. Make dinner plans, go out for drinks, go to that party you’re already brainstorming excuses to get out of. Once you get there, you’ll have fun, and you’ll feel much better afterwards.
5. Get some light. Try to get outside for a little bit each day. So what if it’s cold? That’s why you bought a winter coat! Just a few minutes worth of sunlight will make you feel better. And you might see someone walking a cute dog. Bonus!
Those are my tips for fighting the winter blues. What about you guys? Do you get the winter blues once the days get shorter and there’s snow on the ground? And how do you deal with them? Let me know in the comments!