The severity of the winter blues can range from just overall feeling more sad/low energy/down to actually being its own type of depression, called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD primarily affects women, people with a family history of depression or bipolar disorder, and/or young adults. SAD has also been linked to difficulties in serotonin production and Vitamin D deficiency. Even without SAD, this time of the year can be unpleasant due to decreased sunlight exposure.
When I was younger, I used to get incredibly sad around this time of year after Christmas and New Years. I’m a lot better than I used to be, but in fairness I now take Vitamin D and am on an antidepressant. I also live in the Southern United States and as a result, I am exposed to more sunlight and less snow than other parts of the world.
I still struggle with the winter blues in January especially, so I thought I would put together a post talking about coping with feeling down during these cold, gloomy months. I know for many people, the winter blues strikes even early than January– sometimes even as early as late October.
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How to Cope with the Winter Blues
Winter is the perfect time to snuggle up with a soft, comfortable fluffy blanket with a warm cup of hot cocoa, tea, or coffee. Cuddle your fur babies (if you have/like them) and get cozy with Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, or a good book. Not only is it fun, it can also help distract you from feeling sad.
Set New Goals
I love goal-setting because it gives you something to look forward to and keeps you pushing onwards. They don’t have to be drastic, life-changing goals unless you want them to be. They can literally be like… “Eat breakfast daily.” or something of that nature, something you can achieve and will give you something to look forward to each day or however often you choose to do it.
Related: 2019 Blogging & Personal Goals
I know the winter blues kind of make it difficult to stay motivated, but if you are physically able and can muster up the energy, exercise can help you feel better through the release of neurotransmitters in the brain. You don’t have to do anything intense– I like to walk about 30 minutes every few days and that’s it, but that’s enough to make me feel like I’ve accomplished something.
It may seem tempting to isolate yourself, but that usually doesn’t lead to anything positive. Even if you’re just talking with online friends, having an outlet for what you’re feeling can help.
Whether you revisit an old favorite or want to pick up something new, reading is a great way to pass the time and get your mind off unpleasantries.
Take Care of Yourself
Keep your skin healthy, stay hydrated, and don’t push yourself too hard. Take some time for yourself if you can. Paint your nails, put on some music you like, drink some wine, etc. Don’t forget to be kind and gentle towards yourself, always!
Wake Up Earlier
If you can, try waking up earlier so that you can be exposed to more hours of daylight.
Do Something Creative
Get inspired! My blog is my creative outlet because I am NOT an artsy person and I’m terrible with my hands. You might like bullet journaling, drawing, painting, photography, sculpting… etc. Creating something that is your own to put into the world is incredibly rewarding and can provide a sense of purpose.
Try Light Therapy
If the winter blues are too unbearable for you, it may benefit you to seek professional help. If traditional therapy is not an option for you, or if you’re interested in light therapy in general, you may want to consider purchasing a light therapy energy lamp. How it works is that you sit with the lamp for around 30 minutes per day, and it mimics the effects of natural light so your body is getting exposure to the light it is used to! For more information on light therapy, you can go right here.
I hope this post was helpful to you! Let me know your tips for surviving the winter blues in the comments!
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