A Daily Checklist to Help You Beat the Winter Blues
The winter blues isn’t just a casual term to describe that blah feeling you get when it’s cold, holidays are stressful, and the sun isn’t shining. It’s actually a low mood that can affect your life and become a medical condition known as seasonal affective disorder. In this article, we’ll share a daily checklist to help you beat the winter blues and find yourself feeling good again.
The winter blues don’t have to take over your life and mood. In fact, there are some simple things you can do every day that can help your overall well-being. We recommend taking some notes or printing this out to motivate you to take these actions daily and return to feeling like your best self!
What are the winter blues?
According to New in Health, the winter blues is a general feeling of sadness around the holidays and during fall and winter when there’s less natural sunlight. Unlike seasonal affective disorder, a more severe type of depression, the winter blues are usually linked to something specific like the weather or stressful holidays and clear up once the situation is gone.
How do you treat winter blues?
Although the winter blues are considered mild feelings of sadness, they can feel a bit like depression and cause a low mood. Because of this, it’s essential to have a few tools to help you beat the winter blues.
Some simple lifestyle changes can truly go a long way in boosting your spirit, especially when you incorporate as many as possible. These lifestyle changes include supplements, light therapy lamps, fresh air, and movement. We’ll share some of the best ways to overcome winter blues below.
Beat the Winter Blues: A Daily Checklist
If you can incorporate most or all of these into your daily routine, there’s a great chance your winter blues will be a thing of the past.
Here’s your quick checklist.
Jot these down if you can, then continue reading to find out why these work and how you can easily include each of these tasks into your day.
- Take a warm shower (or bath).
- Go outside during daylight hours.
- Use a light therapy lamp.
- Pamper yourself.
- Eat nutritious foods.
- Take supplements.
- Get active.
- Spend time with loved ones.
- Create a healthy sleep routine.
- Be kind to yourself.
- Work with a professional.
Take a Warm Shower (or Bath)
Studies like this one show that immersing your body in warm water reduces stress and anxiety. Your body naturally relaxes during a warm shower or bath.
Try to take a warm shower before you start your day, even if only for a few minutes, and again before bed. Better yet, take a warm shower in the morning, then soak in a warm bath in the evening. Take it up a notch by using this uplifting herbal bath tea.
Go Outside During Daylight Hours
One of the most common causes of the winter blues is a lack of sunlight. Natural light releases serotonin, your happy chemical, so your mood can be drastically affected when you don’t have access to that. Fresh air also helps relieve stress and anxiety.
Try to incorporate exercise into this by taking a daily walk. You can also easily make time for natural sunlight by eating lunch outside or relaxing on your porch after work. If you live somewhere cold, bundle up and get outdoors during midday, when it’s the warmest.
Use a Light Therapy Lamp
If you live in a place that’s gloomy during winter, you can also use a light therapy lamp (or lightbox) for the same effect. All you have to do is turn on your lamp and sit close to it for 20-30 minutes to help you beat the winter blues. While using your light therapy lamp first thing in the morning can offer significant benefits, it can be even better if you can use it two or three times throughout the day.
Sometimes when you’re feeling down, a pamper session can be the perfect medicine. Try to make time for yourself at least a few times weekly, preferably daily. Whether it be waking up a few minutes earlier or blocking off some time after work or before bed, it’s important to make this a priority.
A few excellent ways to pamper yourself include:
- Meditate or do some yoga. There are lots of free YouTube videos for this!
- Create a calming skincare routine with natural products and a smell-good candle.
- Hang out with a friend.
- Relax in a warm bath while listening to your favorite playlist or podcast.
- Book a spa treatment.
- Go offline and spend time outside.
- Watch a movie while enjoying your favorite snack.
Eat Nutritious Foods
Eating nutritious foods is one of the most overlooked ways to beat the winter blues. Healthy diets are talked about so often, and for great reason. The supplements we get from food directly affect our mental health, so our well-being suffers when we don’t eat foods that provide the supplements we need.
Some of the best mood-boosting foods are those with a lot of protein (fish, chicken, beans, etc.), Omega-3 fatty acids (salmon and nuts), and good carbohydrates (vegetables and whole grains). Another great food for a happier mood? Dark chocolate! That’s right; cocoa has an antioxidant that helps with attention, memory, and mood.
Although including nutritious foods in your diet can be easy to do, some people have deficiencies that may require supplements. The best way to determine if you have a vitamin deficiency is to consult your doctor.
It’s no secret that physical activity produces dopamine and serotonin, important mental well-being chemicals. Countless studies show that exercise reduces stress and helps with depression or low mood.
Even if you can only get active for 10 minutes a day, this can make a significant difference. Try to schedule at least 10-30 minutes of movements per day with a fitness class, a walk or jog, or even running around outside with your children or pet.
Spend Time With Loved Ones
One of the most fun and helpful ways to beat the winter blues is to spend time with loved ones. Hanging out with your family and friends is the ideal way to relax, enjoy yourself, and get your mind off your worries.
Many people don’t realize how critical social interactions are for our well-being. Try to set aside some time every day to spend time with someone you appreciate being around. A phone call or video chat can also work on hectic days!
Create a Healthy Sleep Routine
Medical professionals can’t emphasize enough how vital a healthy sleep routine is. And we’re backing that up too! When you don’t get enough quality sleep, your circadian rhythm is disrupted, which can lead to mental and emotional issues.
Tips for creating and sticking to a healthy sleep routine:
- Set aside 7-9 hours for sleep every night.
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.
- Create a relaxing space for rest that’s also dark, cool, and quiet.
- Get active during the day.
- Don’t look at screens right before bedtime.
- Dedicate time to unwinding each night before bed. This may include a warm bath, meditating, or reading.
Be Kind to Yourself
One of the most important things to do if you’re experiencing the blues is to be kind to yourself. Imagine if your closest friend was down. How would you treat them? You’d likely be kind and loving, but we often forget to do this for ourselves.
Moments of sadness or low mood happen to everyone. So when it’s happening to you, give yourself some love. This can come in many different forms, like patience, self-care, and positive self-talk. How can you be kind to yourself every day?
Work With a Professional
Sometimes it’s hard to entirely beat the winter blues alone. While incorporating the above items into your daily routine should help significantly, some people may need support. If you feel like this is you, consider working with a mental health professional to overcome the winter blues.
A professional can help you identify what’s bringing you down and create a plan that works for you to feel better. It’s also almost always refreshing to talk through your emotions with someone who cares!
Let’s Beat the Winter Blues! Final Thoughts
We hope this article has you feeling inspired and ready to work towards feeling great! If you can, take a moment to create a daily schedule that incorporates these quick and easy strategies for beating the winter blues along with your other priorities. Not only will doing this help you prioritize and see that it’s possible to dedicate time towards well-being, but it’ll also bring some joy into your day-to-day!
You might also be interested in reading: DIY Spa Day: How to Have a Relaxing Spa Day at Home