Anyone else who lives in a place who gets cold, snowy weather 6 months out of the year will understand what I mean by the winter blues. It can be tough to deal with when a simple trip to the grocery store involves putting on several layers of clothes, boots, and then warming up the car for a few minutes before braving the icy streets. For example, it was -40 (both Celsius and Fahrenheit) here in Calgary on New Year's Eve, so the city's planned outdoor activities had to be cancelled because it was just too cold to be outside for any length of time.
Needless to say, it can be easy to get the winter blues when the weather is terrible and the days are short. Some days it feels like winter will go on forever. It's easy to get down during this time of year. Today I thought I'd share of few of the ways I use to deal with the winter blues.
Sometimes all you can do is embrace the cold temperatures and snow and ice. While I would definitely pick to take a walk on a warm summer day over going for one during the winter, snowy walks work too. Some of the outdoor activities you can try during the winter are snowshoeing, cross country skiing, or skating. Take advantage of whatever equipment you have (renting equipment is also an option) and get outside to take in the fresh air and a bit of vitamin D.
It's easy to get stuck in my head when I'm constantly focused on myself – with work, family, and friends, it's easy to focus on what's going on in my little world. I've found that doing something for someone else makes it easier to get out of a funk. Being a part of something bigger than myself and giving back to my community gets me out of my own head.
Eat healthy food
While it's definitely tempting to eat lots of unhealthy comfort food during the winter, I know that making sure that I get in my fruits and veggies will ensure that I feel my best. Even though it would be nice to eat mac and cheese and chili all the time to keep me warm and full, I always feel better when I make sure I have lots of variation in my diet. I know the prices for fresh fruit can be higher places where they're not grown locally, I like to take advantage of sales when they happen. In addition I find frozen fruits and vegetables are another more affordable option.
With the sun going down early (right now the sun sets before 5 pm) and slick roads, it's easy to cancel plans in favor of staying home on the couch. I know for me that staying social throughout the winter helps with my mood. Not only does it get me out of the house, but I always feel recharged after having dinner or going to a movie with my friends. Similar with the volunteering, making sure that I get out of the house for something fun helps to get me out of my bubble where it's easy to feel blue.
You knew that exercise had to be on the list considering that this is a healthy living blog, right? Part of being social for me is going to the gym. Even if I don't talk to anyone while I'm working out, I almost always feel better just getting out of the house. Workouts leave me feeling great (there's got to be something going for those endorphins). I typically workout first thing in the morning, and it feels good to cross something off my to do list before 7 am.
Lastly, if you've been feeling down and are having trouble shaking the winter blues, make a doctor's appointment and discuss it. It's not worth suffering through if it's more than just feeling down for a few days. Your doctor can help figure out if it's more than just the winter blues and come up with some treatment options and ways to deal with it.
How do you deal with the winter blues?