I ’m sure you aren’t surprised to learn the winter blues are a very real thing. As shorter days, cold temperatures, rain and snow (even in California) start to roll in so does the desire to hang out in your coziest PJ’s all day sipping hot chocolate and hibernating from the world outside. Let’s not forget the holiday crowds, traffic and distance that may be between you and your loved ones which can cause stress and anxiety, or even depression.
Good news – there are ways to combat the holiday blues!! A few minor adjustments in our thoughts and habits can dramatically impact your experience. You know I’m all about the huge rewards of small changes ;o).
I wanted to share some tips to beat the winter blues, so you can have less despair and more joy during the colder months and hopefully look forward to this time of year instead of dreading it.
* Vitamin D3 – did you know that Vitamin D levels can be checked by a simple blood test – ask your Doctor about It! Due to its effects on hormones in the body, it’s thought to affect your mood by improving your sense of well-being. Vitamin D can be highly effective in high doses such as 1000-5000 IU for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Yes, that is a real thing!
If the sun is shining grab those rays outside for 15-20 minutes, but in the absence of sunlight, there is also light therapy – as little as 15 minutes of light therapy treats the cause of SAD—lack of light—without any side effects.
* Take time to rest – It’s OK! Go to bed early, or sleep in a later.
* Just Say NO! We have all spent some time in the land of overcommitment. Saying yes to others and neglecting ourselves. Tis the season for parties, events, packed weekends, travel… you name it. It’s okay to say no. Not only is it okay, but it is a really important part of self-care. The key however is when you say NO, be okay with it. Don’t do it and feel guilty about it. This being said, we all have certain obligations and commitments however, there is always something we say YES to that if we said NO to it wouldn’t disrupt our lives or hurt the feelings of others.
* Let It go! Overcommitment Is also something we indulge in day-to-day. For instance the list of things you have to get done before you go to the party you said “yes” to. You want to work out, get your nails done, clean the house, shop for a gift, buy a new outfit, stop by the grocery store, bake something to bring to the party you said “Yes” to – but have to be home in time to get ready… any of this sound familiar? That used to be me, but now I love the liberating feeling of letting something go for the sake of my sanity and some me time. Is there something you can let go of? Hint – It may even be a thought or feeling and not even a task. When we don’t practice self-care (mind & body) it completely changes our experiences and how we show up. Let it go!
* Indulge your senses – Something about baking in the winter and the smell throughout the house that warms the soul. Slow cooker meals or Indulging In soups, stews or curries are also comforting on cold winter days. There are so many great recipes out there but if cooking/baking isn’t your thing, use Doordash or some other delivery service.
* Stay Connected – Spending time with family and friends Is good for the soul and often the best medicine.
* Laugh – Humor and laughter strengthen your immune system, trigger endorphins, boost your energy, diminish pain, and protect you from the damaging effects of stress. Laughing with others is even more powerful than laughing alone. Try watching improv or stand-up comedy in your town, or download your favorite comedian on Netflix.
* The hot tub – if you have access to a hot tub they are great for stimulating blood flow and helping you relax.
* Get Moving – Dancing, hot yoga, indoor cycling, the gym, walking, sex – just some things that get you sweaty. Remember, it only takes 20 minutes a day and It’s good for attitudes and health.
* Take up a hobby or learn something new. Ideas: singing, painting, knitting, keeping a journal, learn a language, read, take a cooking class, or write a blog, photography. The important thing is that you have something to look forward to and concentrate on.
* Liven up your wardrobe – get some great looking, vibrant, well-fitted winter clothes to keep warm!
* Change up your morning routine – meditate or start your day with affirmations
* Find reasons to leave the house and get some fresh air
* Eat healthy – pay attention to your diet – are you feeling tired a lot, having blood sugar surges or digestive issues?
* Phone a friend – if you are feeling blue talk to someone or seek help. Remember, you are not alone as many people experience mood swings, sadness and depression during the winter months and if you feel your blues are affecting your relationships, job or lifestyle you should talk with your physician.
These tips are designed to help you overcome mild winter Blues and I hope they have inspired you in some way to change up your routine, or given you some ideas to incorporate into your days to combat those blues. Remember, being aware of your thoughts and shifting negative thoughts to positive reframes is extremely valuable when trying to beat the blues.
With love & gratitude,