How To Cope With Those Dreary Winter Days

Coping with colder and shorter winter days can be challenging. I stayed local for college, but many of my friends went to places with real seasons. I remember specifically the dating scene at their colleges taking a strong hiatus during the winter months. People would find someone to “hunker down” with to get through the cold, lonely winter months. That companionship was one way many of the students coped with the dreary weather. That’s not my recommended strategy, however! ha!! Though props to you if that works out! Whether you’re single, married, or whatever, here are strategies you can use to stay positive and maintain your well-being during this season:

1. Embrace Natural Light:

   Make the most of the limited daylight by spending time outdoors during the brightest parts of the day. If its too cold to really enjoy, then do yourself a favor and open curtains and blinds to let natural light into your home. Some of my friends like to place a UV light boxes near a window to naturalize the experience.

2. Stay Active:

   Engage in regular physical activity to boost your mood and energy levels. If the weather is nice, take your exercise outdoors for a nice walk or jog. Thankfully, indoor exercises, yoga, or brisk walks on the treadmill can help combat the winter blues.

3. Mindful Eating:

   The holidays often kick start our winter with tasty but not very healthy treats. I’m not saying don’t indulge, because that would make me a giant hypocrite! For the majority of the time, try to consume a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Certain foods, like those high in Omega-3 fatty acids, can support brain health and mood.

4. Stay Social:

   Maintain connections with family and friends. In 2020, we all learned how incredibly important connection is. Even if your favorite people are far away, you can still engage in virtual hangouts, start a virtual book club, or just pick up the phone to chat. For friends closer by, plan regular meet ups to help combat the feelings of isolation that can settle in after a long, cold spell.

5. Brighten Your Environment:

   You’re spending an awful lot of time in the same few rooms of your home. If you have the means, decorate your living space with cheerful and cozy elements like warm-colored decor, soft blankets, and candles. Even swapping wall art around, or rearranging the furniture can help alleviate the tension of feeling stuck in a space.

6. Stay Hydrated:

   Drinking enough water can help maintain your energy levels and improve your overall well-being. I’m a big supporter of Liquid IV. Since adding it to my daily drinks I’ve found I drink more often and I’ve seen benefits beyond energy levels. Even my skin has been happier!

7. Create a Routine:

   Establish a daily routine that includes activities you enjoy, such as reading, crafting, cooking, or practicing a hobby. I start each morning by filling my giant tumbler with water, liquid IV and a hair supplement my friend created. Just having this little moment of consistency helps jumpstart my day on the right path. Routines are so important. We need to schedule time to do the things that bring us joy. Having something to look forward to throughout the day helps the monotony of certain tasks not feel so draining.

8. Mindfulness and Meditation:

   Practice mindfulness meditation to stay present and reduce stress. This can help you appreciate the small joys of winter. Adding this to your routine can be a great way to make sure you never forget to slow down! I’ll admit I am not the best at this one. Its always a goal I seek to achieve and one I always fall short on. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Sometimes just stopping to take a few deep breaths, is enough to reset the moment.

9. Stay Warm and Cozy:

   Dress in layers and wear comfortable, warm clothing to keep yourself cozy indoors and outdoors. I run incredibly cold. I dress as cozy as I can but almost always end up taking a mid afternoon shower to defrost. It’s become something I really look forward to and helps me feel revived to finish out the second half of my day.

10. Engage in Winter Activities:

    Embrace the season by participating in winter sports, such as skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, or snowshoeing. If you live in a more moderate climate, do the things you normally do, just dress for the weather. Invite your friends or include your partner!

11. Plan Indoor Activities:

    Explore indoor activities like baking, painting, watching movies, or organizing your living space. Truly, there are so many hobbies out there. Find one that speaks to you! For me, that passion is writing. Whether its fluff pieces or deep diving into my emotions, there is something so rejuvenating for me about putting pen to paper, or in this case fingers to keyboard!

12. Set Goals:

    Use the winter months to set and work toward personal goals, whether they’re related to fitness, learning a new skill, or accomplishing a project. Pick one goal you thought about over new years and break it down into micro goals. Work on each micro goal until you’ve made the big one a reality! Baby steps are better than nothing!

13. Practice Self-Care:

    Dedicate time to self-care activities that make you feel relaxed and rejuvenated, such as taking warm baths or practicing self-massage. In case you haven’t gathered from some of my other posts, I am big on self-care! I’m not always the best at remembering to take care of my needs first, but I do my best. I can tell you this, when I prioritize my self-care, I am more productive at home and at work. I am a better partner and parent. I am a happier me. It’s worth it.

14. Seek Professional Help if Needed:

    If you find that your mood is significantly affected by the winter season, consider speaking to a mental health professional. I have a therapist that I meet with regularly. I’ve noticed things are just harder when the cold season hits. There is zero shame in needing help.

Remember that it’s normal to feel a bit down during the winter months, but implementing these strategies can help you navigate the season with a more positive mindset and maintain your overall well-being.



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