I am 1000% a sunshine gal – and you better believe when there are two or more weeks where it is snowy or gray that, I feel those winter blues. Seasonal depression is a REAL thing that I never experienced until I moved from Sunny San Diego to Jackson, Wyoming. (And why on earth would I do that? A story for another time, haha). So you can say that my body had some major adjusting to do when I experienced a real winter with 8 months of snow and gray days for the first time in my life. As we are already at the end of October, and the weather is changing, I knew I needed to pull out my list of mood boosters to ensure I have it handy as the sunshine fades away and the gray days come closer and closer.
When your mood drops as fast as the temperature, it is important to use your skills! I don't know about you, but my motivation goes out the window when it gets cold and gray. We know the weather is something we have no control over, but we DO have control over how we let it affect us. If this is something that affects you, try one or more of the following:
01. Have an exercise schedule
Working out is often the LAST thing we want to do when it is freezing and dark and we feel those winter blues. We know exercise has mood-boosting benefits, but we don't get those benefits unless we are a workout. It is helpful to have a schedule when it is easy to blow off your workout. I like to sign up for classes in advance or plan a gym date with a friend, so when that lack of motivation hits, I already have a plan.
02. Don't take away the comfort food; just add to it
When the seasons change and the weather is colder, our bodies naturally crave warm and comforting foods. What nutrient-dense foods can you add to these meals without taking away these warm and comforting foods to bring your body a little more nourishment?
- Add some spinach to your spaghetti sauce
- Have broccoli with your mac n cheese
- Add some roasted into your chili
Again, it's not about taking the comfort food away but ensuring you're getting the nutrients there too!
03. Listen to an upbeat playlist or podcast
Maybe don't play the playlist you had on repeat your last trip to Cabo because that may make you feel worse; however, get some upbeat tunes going! When you're driving, making dinner, or doing busy work – put some headphones on and jam out. A good song or a funny podcast always helps when feeling the winter blues.
04. Stay Social
It might feel like you are already socializing with the holiday parties, extra family time, and end-of-the-year celebrations. After our schedule is stacked with that, it is easy to just want to go into our beds, turn on Netflix, and hide. There are nights you need to do that and take time to recoup; however, there's something about time without girlfriends that is so important to our happiness and well-being. Don't forget about them!
05. Take a vitamin D supplement
Not only does vitamin D boost mood, but it also boosts your immune system, and we all know how easy it is to get sick in the wintertime! Getting sick can throw off my routine, making me feel even worse. I take a vitamin D supplement every morning, and although I don't feel any remarkable differences, I know that my body is getting the amount of vitamin D it needs to not feel worse.
You don't need anything special for this. This is the one I take: Click Here.
06. Stick to a sleeping schedule
Ohhhhh, who is guilty of staying in bed a little bit later and later each morning as we get deeper into winter? Can I give that one double hand up? So guilty – and I know it doesn't make me feel any better, but it is just so easy to do! I have found that staying on a sleep schedule, at least on the weekdays, helps me when those winter blues hit.
07. Clean up your house
Having a clean house, car, office, etc, just makes you feel better when you're down. I try to keep things organized, or at the bare minimum, make my bed every day to avoid coming home to a messy house and feeling even worse. Take just 5-10 min daily tidying up, and your spaces will remain clean and organized.
08. Get something on the calendar
Something that helps to boost your mood is having something on the calendar to look forward to. This does not necessarily have to be a vacation – but if it can be, that is awesome! This can be as small as planning a dinner date with your best friends, planning to see a movie that you've been waiting to see with your partner, signing up for a running race – whatever!
09. Try light therapy!
I have just recently learned about light therapy, and it is something that I find very interesting. You can buy or DIY a light box that mimics outdoor light. You take 10-15min when needed to just have this light hit your face. This instantly boosts vitamin D in your system, which elevates mood.
This is the one I use: Click Here.
10. Change out of your sweats/workout gear
Not just put on clothes, but take off the yoga pants and put on real clothes. You don't have to do this every day – and I know there are days when sweatpants are just a must. However, when day 10 of sweatpants and the winter blues are hitting hard, try putting on some clothing that makes you feel good. When we feel good on the outside, it can sometimes have a reverse effect, making us feel good on the inside.
The good news is winter is not forever, and the sunshine will come again – even if it feels like it won't. I mean, I think of it as a time to drink all the pumpkin spice lattes and eat all the Christmas cookies without any excuses while they're available!