Many people experience sadness, low energy, or depression as the days get shorter and colder. The holiday season could be a contributing factor if you’re socially isolated or going through personal difficulties. The holidays, however, are only the beginning of winter. For many, a more significant challenge is getting through the cold months of January and February. If you’re prone to winter depression, the following tips could help you maintain a positive mindset.
1. Stay Warm
While depression is a state of mind, physical comfort plays a role as well. Being chilly can contribute to feeling blue. A remedy could be to invest in some warm clothes and blankets, so you’re not freezing during the cold months of Colorado winter.
Wearing an extra layer of clothing can make a big difference to your body temperature and mood. Thermal underwear, thick socks, a good pair of boots, and some flannel shirts can keep you warm and comfortable on the coldest day. If you’re chilly at night, a nice thick blanket can help you stay warm.
2. Stock Up on Staples
Another way to increase your comfort level during winter is to up on necessities, staples, and comfort foods, so you don’t have to venture out to a convenience store in the middle of a blizzard for a loaf of bread or roll of toilet paper. Keep your pantry stuffed with at least a week’s worth of staples during the winter.
3. Build Your Collection of Books and Movies
It’s often undesirable and impractical to go outdoors more than necessary in winter. That doesn’t mean you have to be bored and suffer from cabin fever, though. While most people find diversions on the internet and social media, even this can get repetitive. More traditional entertainment such as books and movies are a great way to pass the hours of cold evenings and weekends. Make a list of books you’ve never gotten around to reading, or revisit old favorites. You can also stock up on DVDs of your favorite films. That will ensure that you have plenty of diversions for those times when you can’t make yourself leave the house.
4. Take Up a New Activity
Winter could be the perfect time to take up a hobby, learn a skill, or resume an interest you abandoned. You might try a new style of cooking, take up crocheting, learn to play a musical instrument, or perhaps take up a winter sport such as skiing or snowboarding. Activities can give you something to do in your free time, help you meet new people, and can help improve your state of mind.
5. Upgrade Your Lighting
There can be a connection between seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and lack of light. You can’t control the seasons, but you can make your home brighter. However, you don’t want to go out and buy higher-watt bulbs that will only create unpleasant glare. Fortunately, there are now many devices made for light therapy.
6. Spend More Time in the Kitchen
Cooking can be a creative and satisfying pastime, and winter is the perfect time to experiment with new recipes and cuisine, prepare comfort foods, or perfect some of your favorite dishes. Soups, stews, fresh bread, baked potatoes, and root vegetables are especially comforting in winter. You could consider inviting friends and family over, and hosting luncheons or dinner parties. Even cooking for yourself can be therapeutic.
7. Eat a Balanced Diet
Lean protein, fruits and vegetables, and complex carbohydrates such as whole wheat can help you maintain a better mood as well as keep you healthy in general. Limit your intake of junk food and sweets, as well as alcohol, which can be especially tempting as you get caught up in the momentum of holiday parties. Maintaining a balanced diet while keeping your intake of stimulants in check might help stabilize your moods.
8. Stay Physically Active
Exercise can help boost your mood. That doesn’t mean, however, that you need to stop all physical activity. Many gyms and fitness centers offer discounts for the New Year, potentially making it an excellent time to join. There are also plenty of exercises you can do at home. You can find many fitness videos on YouTube. Even a 15 or 20-minute workout could leave you feeling invigorated.
9. Be Social
Try not to let yourself get isolated as this might intensify feeling depressed. Don’t overlook any opportunities to spend time with friends and family. If you get invited to parties or social events, make an effort to attend. If you don’t have any social events to attend or friends who are available, consider checking local events. Go out to lectures, poetry readings, books signings, or music clubs.
10. Seek Help If You Need It
If you’re feeling depressed, it might not be enough merely to improve your diet and get more exercise. People suffering from depression may find the winter especially challenging. A counselor or depression psychiatrist in Boulder may be able to provide you with tools to deal with these complicated feelings. Cognitive Therapy, for example, teaches techniques to help you recognize and overcome negative thought patterns. Support groups can also be helpful. There are many resources for dealing with depression, but you have to take the first step and seek them out.
These tips might help you overcome the common problem of winter blues. Pay attention to your feelings and your habits, and make healthy choices to help yourself feel better.