Do you find it difficult dealing with winter blues? Does the lack of sunlight make you grumpy? Do you feel yourself getting depressed or anxious?
Extreme winters are marked by very short days and also little or no sunlight. Days are short, and even shorter for people who sleep late. Winter blues are fine but if not taken care it can go towards depression. One must make appropriate changes to feel better.
The lack of sunlight, for some people, makes it difficult for their body to adjust the cicardian rhythm. It tends to make one dull and lethargy. I love rains and the cold weather, but that is good for a day or two. If there is no sun for a few days it does make me feel dull.
On those days I have found it very helpful to turn inwards, connect to my home and family. I am an introvert primarily, so being home does not hurt me. I am good with little or no social interaction. For me it is just the bright sunlight, clear blue skies, is what I am missing. But if I keep my house well lighted and do what I mention in the post below, I am hardly affected.
Likewise you must sit and contemplate what is making you grumpy. There always are ways to fix it up once you know what needs fixing. Winter blues are normal you just need to ensure that you take care of yourself and maybe like plants need a little extra care in winters we need to nurture ourself too.
Nothing is really difficult to change. It really has a lot to do with your mindset. If you think that you want to and you will have a warm cozy winter, that is what you will have. Making certain changes in your lifestyle and daily habits can also bring big changes in how you may end up feeling. I have tried to list here few simple suggestions based on my learning and a bit of research.
- Keep up with routines. If you are a morning person don’t sleep late just because it is too cold to step out. Whatever time you wake up, continue to follow that and stay in your routine. A day without flow will only add to dullness because of the missing sunlight.
In times like these keeping up with a routine really helps. I have been for a while trying to wake up at 5 am. And just while I was in midst of forming a habit, temperatures started to drop. My first impulse was to take it further when the days get warmer. But then I sat and thought of all the effort I had already put in. It did not make any sense to let it go waste. I wake up at around 5.30. And trust me, now that I am doing it, it does not seem so tough at all. In fact following my routine before the break of dawn and before my daughter wakes up, makes me feel more charged up to face the day.
2. Exercise: Exercise releases feel good hormones in your body. It is doubly good to workout in the cold weather. You would find your mood uplifted almost instantly. Also I feel a workout makes me feel less cold. A workout is an essential part of my early morning routine.
It is better to workout outdoors, if the weather permits and of course with proper clothing. But if that is too much to do, still do have an indoor workout routine. For me what works best is a good cardio plus strength training to warm me up, followed by yoga to stretch those muscles and for some ultimate relaxation.
Also Yoga helps align your chakras and makes you feel less anxious and calm. Do check out this blog I wrote about the awesome benefits of yoga and what makes it my favourite workout.
3. Work on your mindset. What we feel has a lot to do with what we think. Changing our thoughts can have a powerful impact upon how we feel. If you keep looking at and thinking of the gloomy weather, you would continue to feel gloomy too. But instead if you think of what you can do while you are indoors, you would feel much better. Winter blues are a lot about mindset. Surely by being in a positive frame of mind you can feel better
Meditation greatly helps to bring you to a positive mindset. Research has proven that meditation has awesome benefits. I advice all my clients to start meditation. There is so much positivity that meditation instils in your life.
If you are a beginner to meditation you can use this time to start a practice. Do read this post that I wrote especially for beginners of meditation.
But a mindset change must always be followed up by positive action. Just thinking what you can do would not be enough. Take action, do it, keep yourself constructively engaged. And the action you take will surely lift up your spirits!
4. Do what you love to do. Staying indoors can be an awesome time to do the things that you could not do due to daily hustle. You could warm up with a book, or a family movie, we also love to play games. Doing things with the family makes it even more exciting.
Playing a board game or a card game with my daughter and husband gives me a good adrenalin rush. It revives those childlike feelings of wanting to win, or give the other person a tough fight.
Cooking also is fun in the winters. I feel less cold when I work in the kitchen, plus cooking for the family can be so satisfying! One must eat healthy and thus going up to the kitchen and trying your culinary skills can be a good way to overcome the winter blues.
5. Music is a mood changer. I love to keep some good peppy music running. I feel it uplifts my mood and spreads positive vibes. And make sure to have music that cheers you up, that helps you raise your vibration. I also love to shake a little bum every once in a while as I go on with my day’s work. It cheers me up and is also something my daughter loves. How you act has a very positive impact on how you feel. So being cheerful will make you feel it. And trust me sometimes you got to fake it…. till you make it.
6. Spend time Bonding with family and friends Winters is the best time to connect with family. Since the days are short, temperatures are low and it is holiday season to top it all, one must make use of this beautiful time to connect with family and friends.
If you are an extrovert, forced to live alone and you miss connecting with people, you can make use of technology. Engage in some video calls with your family or friends. You can have a pre determined time to meet up everyone and chit chat online. The world is a small place now. Thanks to technology, distances can be easily covered up. You can get together with the people you love on a video chat, it is not real time meeting, but it is pretty good.
No matter what reach out to people and talk to them if you are feeling sad. Talking helps. And it is OK to ask for help.
7. Adopt a pet. I know this may not make much sense, but having a pet around in times when you are stuck at home can really feel good. During the lockdown, we were stuck at home, me and my daughter. But just having my pet around kept us happy and engaged. Petting a dog is so therapeutic, but of course you would align with this only if you are a pet lover.
So if it makes sense to you, and you have been contemplating on this, also if you think you can take on the responsibility, adopt a fur baby.
In the cold winter they are also awesome to snuggle up with 😉
8. Eat Healthy: Winters are a time when one may end up binging. It is very important to be watchful of what you eat. What we eat has an impact on how we feel. Eating healthy makes you feel active while junk food makes one sluggish. Also the winter blues may make you lazy to cook up a healthy meal. This would start a vicious circle. Eating from packets or ordering would further make you lazy. Taking control of your kitchen helps you take control of your health!
Just small simple changes can make you feel much better. Depression or SAD or winter blues are after all also induced by poor lifestyle. Making these small changes in your lifestyle, you will see big changes in your health and happiness.