Say Bye-Bye to Winter Blues

Doing these activities during the winter can help to combat feelings of seasonal sadness.

Sophie Gromowsky, Social Media Coordinator

When the autumn leaves have fallen, the temperatures have dropped and gray clouds hide the sun for days at a time, winter can leave you feeling sad and less energetic. This phenomenon, known as the “winter blues”, affects between 10-20% of Americans every year according to Cleveland Clinic. If you find yourself feeling down and daydreaming of warm summer days, keep reading to learn about some easy ways to boost your mood throughout the cold season.

Get Moving

Exercise is one of the best all-natural mechanisms that the body can utilize to combat feelings of stress, sadness and depression. High-intensity exercises, such as running, jump-roping or stair-climbing, release endorphins, hormones that trigger feelings of positivity, according to Harvard Health Publishing. Low-intensity exercises, like walking, yoga or swimming laps, prompt the release of neurotrophics, proteins which aid in nerve cell growth and connections and help to improve brain function, which relieve depression. Even if low temperatures and snowy weather are keeping you indoors, going to the gym, using exercise equipment at your house or following an at-home workout tutorial can help to improve your mental health, so queue up a playlist of exercise jams and go sweat it out!

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Keep A Journal

Journaling is a great activity to increase mindfulness and help to process thoughts and emotions. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, keeping a journal can improve your mood by serving as an outlet for problems, fears or concerns while also providing an opportunity for positive reflections. Your journal can have a specific focus, like a gratitude journal, which helps to identify good things that happened each day rather than focusing on the negative. It could also just be a free-flow of words, drawings and ideas that help you to discuss your feelings and express yourself in whatever form feels right to you. 

Some tips for getting started with journaling:

  1. Set aside time to write in your journal everyday so that it becomes a part of your daily routine.
  2. Keep a pen and paper handy at all times or start a log on your phone so that you are able to write down your thoughts whenever you feel like it.
  3. Make journaling fun and creative by using journal prompts or including drawings so that it feels enjoyable and doesn’t become a chore.
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Let the Light In

One of the primary causes of seasonal depression during the wintertime is decreased levels of sunlight which can decrease levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is associated with mood-boosting and improving calm and focus, according to Healthline. In order to combat this effect, try to seek out sunlight as much as possible during the winter months by opening all of the blinds and curtains in your house and spending time in bright rooms or outside. You can also utilize artificial forms of sunlight like light therapy boxes, which mimic natural outdoor light and help to regulate brain chemical levels related to mood and sleep.

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Stay Social

When the temperatures start to drop, it can be tempting to want to hole up inside your warm house all winter long, but spending time with family and friends is actually a great way to combat feelings of seasonal sadness. Many studies have found that there is a causal relationship between social isolation and depression, according to Tulane University, so staying socially active during the colder months is especially important. There are so many enjoyable seasonal activities to take part in during the winter time, like ice-skating, sledding and curling up with hot chocolate to watch a holiday movie, so pick a few to add to your social calendar and go have fun with your friends!

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