Discover ways to beat the winter blues this year that will leave you feeling happy, content, and looking forward to the season, plus it won’t break the bank!
While others see winter months as hot cocoa by the fireplace or the chance to dust off those ice skates, you see it as cold and dreary mornings, early sunsets, and uncomfortable layers upon layers of clothing. There's no denying that the winter months can zap your mood, but it doesn't have to.
Research shows that winter blues and its more serious version, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), can leave you feeling lethargic, fatigued, and downright irritable, but there are ways to beat those winter blues.
Winter blues, much like Christmas decor at Ralph Lauren, make their appearance just around the same time those first snow clouds roll in. As the days get colder and longer, you can feel your mood get heavier and suddenly it gets harder to get out of bed and go about your normal routine.
While there is tons of research being done on it, winter blues is just a general term given to the overall feeling of glum, it's not a medical term just yet. You know you're affected by it if your mood lifts when those first rays of sun poke through the clouds.
While we can't do much about the seasons, there are some things to be done about the winter blues.
We're just houseplants with complicated needs, or so the saying goes. We seek out sunlight at any given opportunity and if that's not available, technology comes along. Light therapy uses specialized bulbs to imitate sunlight and for many, this just does the trick.
To get the job done, you'll need a light box at a cost of around $120 and two free hours. This isn't always within everyone's means, so it helps to have more than one trick up your layers and layers of sleeves to beat the blues.
If light therapy isn't available and you need a serious pick-me-upper, studies show that a walk during the day can beat those gloomies. Aim for one hour to get the blood flowing. Who knows, you might end up catching a few rays of sun on your walk.
If you're watching copious amounts of holiday films (we see you, Hallmark!) it's natural to dip into the cookie jar a bit more often than normal. But that moment of comfort as sugar and butter and flour sends all the right signals to your brain only lasts for a little while, and is soon replaced by guilt and other chemical responses firing through your body.
You want to look for food that releases feel-good chemicals without the accompanying guilt. Complex carbohydrates from whole foods such as beans and rolled oats release serotonin, the feel-good chemical. Lean proteins such as fish, beans, and eggs release dopamine and norepinephrine, which are both linked to mood. So dust off those healthy recipes!
If they could bottle up sunshine and sell it in a store, we'd have aisle races to get to that last bottle!
Here's the thing, it's already there. Or at least a version of it. Vitamin D is naturally created in our bodies during the summer months thanks to the sun, but not so much in the winter months. This could lead to low levels of serotonin and dopamine, which could lead to a lower mood.
Before taking supplements, it's best to check in with your physician.
Walking isn't the only exercise you can do to beat the blues. Regular exercise not only has a ton of benefits for your overall health, but studies also show that it's good for the mind too by improving mood and mental functioning. You don't have to do two-hour sessions every day to reap those benefits. Start off slow by following an online routine, even the short 7-minute options, and gradually increase your workouts from there.
There are several reasons why indoor plants are great mood boosters. They add a touch of color, bring life into your space, and the art of caring for plants can be a stress reliever. Certain plants are also known to purify the air, which improves the air quality in your space. Can anyone say happy breathing?
Hobbies are great for beating those winter blues as they boost your mental well-being. A hobby is any activity that you voluntarily do to relieve stress and can range from arts and crafts, gaming, and sport to antique browsing and hiking. There really is no limit to what counts as a hobby, other than its effect on your mental state. The best part is that you don't have to be particularly good at something to gain mental rewards from the activity.
It's time to get social, whether it's going for that cup of tea with aunt May or gift shopping with your besties. We're built for social interactions and it's only natural that we feel glum when no one's around. Regular social interactions can also help you unpack some of your emotions, which can be a great stress reliever and instant mood booster.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and talk therapy are two ways to relieve some stress by working through the root causes of the seasonal mental dip. These types of therapies allow you to unpack the emotional response to the season and equip you with ways to improve your mood.
We'd love to know how you go about beating those winter blues and still sticking to a budget. At Save, we can help you beat those blues with impressive savings on hobby items, healthy foods, and even some sporting gear. Check out our Coupon Book Finder to slash those prices and get what you need.