Studies reveal that 38% of Americans experience mood decline during winter, as daylight reduces and the weather becomes less pleasant. Then there’s the issue of a lack of direct sunlight, which studies say can disrupt the body’s internal clock and lead to feelings of depression. That also explains the drop in serotonin (the brain chemical that affects mood) which plays a big role in people who experience seasonal affective disorders. If you’re tired of freezing temperatures and grey cloudy skies, then use these tips to beat your winter blues.
1. Start working on your mindset
Sometimes, your dread of winter is enough to put you in a bad mood, and learning to change your mindset can make a difference. Whether you like it or not, winter is a fact and will keep coming each year. So you might as well learn to enjoy it instead of finding ways to endure it each year - and it all starts with the mindset. Think about places where people have nothing but cold and snow for more than half of the year. How do they stay upbeat? A perfect example is in Northern Norway, where people have learned to enjoy the winter instead of searching for ways to resist it. One study found that people in Northern Norway are less depressed during winter compared to other places. Why? Because they have a different mindset about the season. For them, it’s an opportunity to sit by fires with loved ones, build snowmen, skate, ski, and drink hot beverages. You can let this positive mindset work for you, too.
2. Queue up a stream of laugh-out-loud comedy movies
Laughter is a natural medicine, and you’ve probably heard that said several times. But this is not just something people say for no reason; there’s enough research backing it. Laughter can bring you joy in the cold winter, and that’s a scientific fact. Research shows that a good bout of laughter can cause your cortisol and adrenaline levels to drop drastically. It can also increase endorphins, enhancing your mood and reducing stress. It reduces the limbic fight-or-flight mentality many people have towards winter and replaces it with a good dose of positivity and lightheartedness. It can even make you feel more hopeful despite the weather. You can add some standup comedy shows to your movie list for some variety, but make sure you’re getting a good laugh.
3. Surround yourself with funny and lighthearted people
But that’s not all; surround yourself with lighthearted people. Laughter can increase your immune system, making you more resilient against common winter ailments like cold and a crabby feeling. It increases the number of antibody-producing cells while strengthening your T cells to ward off illnesses. As if that’s not good enough, laughter also reduces negative stress, thanks to its effect on cortisol levels. In other words, it’s hard to keep worrying about the weather when you’re laughing your heart out. So, aside from queueing up a stream of all the funny movies you can find, surround yourself with funny and lighthearted people. It’s even better if you can enjoy your funny movies with a funnier company. You can arrange regular fun meetups with colleagues, friends, or neighbors to share jokes and laugh like nothing else matters.
4. Think outside the box when it comes to fitness
Most fitness enthusiasts suggest getting your running shoes and gloves on and hitting the road for a good run. Granted, that’s an excellent idea and a great way to beat the winter blues if you can pull it off. But here’s the problem with this tip: if you’re not a fitness enthusiast, the last thing you want to do is go running in the cold. Even fitness lovers will feel a little discouraged to run in the snow when it’s warm and comfy inside. Exercising is a wonderfully effective way to combat the moody effect of winter, but you have to think outside the box if you’re going to make it work for you. For example, consider joining a fun aerobics class - and there are so many options available. One of the really exciting options is the trampoline aerobics. It’s just like jumping on a trampoline but with a fitness twist. You can find a physical class near you and join other trampoline lovers to jump the blues away. Alternatively, you can purchase a small trampoline and join an online class. But that’s just one example. The point is to find fun ways to move your body and break sweat, which is why the next point is also important.
5. Try not to exercise alone
One of your biggest challenges might be an inability to motivate yourself to exercise. Studies show that cold temperature reduces muscle function and slows down nerve impulses, so the brain takes longer to respond to physical activity. So, you’ll most likely find all the reasons not to exercise if you have to do it alone. One way you can avoid this is to find a workout buddy. If you know someone who already loves exercising in winter, find out if you can join them. You’ll have great company while exercising, and you’ll have someone to hold you accountable - a win-win situation. You can also turn your family into a fitness group and exercise together at home. You’ll end the winter feeling and looking good together - and speaking of looking good, consider the next tip.
6. Get a new haircut to boost your mood
While most people are more likely to leave their hair growing in the winter, consider your winter blues a case for getting a haircut during the cold season. Yes, the consensus is usually to keep your hair long to offer some heat during winter and shorter to keep it off your neck during summer. However, tweaking up your hairstyle a little can help you feel better in an instant., instead of staring at overgrown hair every day during winter. Believe it or not, how you feel when you look at yourself in the mirror can impact your winter mood. If you don’t like how you look, you’ll hardly enjoy your winter experience, as you’ll spend most of your days waiting for summer to come so you can get a haircut. That will only cause you to hate the season even more. So, go on: try a new haircut. You can try different types of fade haircuts or go for any style you’ve dreamed of and start feeling better instantly.
7. Don’t ignore the rest of your body
But looking good shouldn’t be about your hair alone; start dressing your best. For many, a winter wardrobe is all about hoodies and oversized jumpers. Yes, they feel comfortable and will keep you warm, but those aren’t your only options. There are several other outfits you can wear and look stylish while staying warm. So, do a little shopping to splurge on some fashionable winter clothes. The shopping experience itself can send your mood lifting. Taking that bold step to improve your looks will leave you admiring yourself all winter through. You’ll start paying less attention to the weather and more immersed in your appearance. You’ll even have more reason to head out and take a thousand selfies, as you’ll want others to see your new look. Pair your new outfits with your new hairstyle to make you feel even better.
8. Don’t disconnect yourself from healthy relationships
You’re less likely to associate with others when you feel down, and winter blues can sink your spirits so low that all you’ll want to do is stay away from people. But that’s the last thing you want to do, as staying alone can do more damage to your mental health. Studies have shown that physical and social isolation can affect you emotionally while bringing along adverse health consequences like sleeplessness and a dented immune system. Being active on social media alone may not cut it, especially when it becomes a substitute for meaningful conversations and in-person socialization. So, regardless of how lowly you feel, please avoid disconnecting yourself from healthy relationships. Resist the tendency to be alone all day by inviting friends over for hot drinks, sleepovers, or nightouts in town. Also, don’t turn down an invitation to socialize, whether it’s a birthday party, a live game, or a winter concert. Spending quality time with friends can help you keep the winter blues at bay.
9. Add indoor plants to your home
Since you’re likely to spend a lot of time indoors, turn to indoor plants for extra help to keep you relaxed and lower anxiety. Studies have shown that being around plants has a calming effect, including lowering negative emotions like stress and anxiety. Even better, plants can help improve focus, helping you to be more productive. Also, caring for plants has added health benefits, including easing stress.
10. Take a break from the news
Staying indoors during winter means an increased likelihood of more screen time. If you spend most of your screen time consuming one news content after another, you may experience an increase in your winter blues. Of course, it makes sense that you’ll want to keep up with weather updates and know what is happening in the world, but you can do all that without spending hours watching or reading the news. So, try to reduce how much new content you consume to avoid stressing yourself out. If possible, consider reducing your screen time in general and invest more in fun and relaxing activities.
I'm a NYC metro area mom blogger living in NJ with my Japanese husband & our 3 kids (twins plus 1), focusing on fun and honest product and travel reviews, saving moms time finding the best for their families! Find what you need in the menu bar or search section above!