5 Ways to Combat Winter Blues

It’s mid-February and most of us are feeling the winter blues in full force, especially for those of us in the north east. As if winter wasn’t already tough enough on our mental health, this year we are dealing with a lack of socialization due to the pandemic, making us feel exceptionally lonely, stir crazy, and isolated. 

Hang in there! A month from now, we will be turning our clocks ahead and the sun will start to set around 7PM! Until then, here are a few other things you can do to ease seasonal sadness and bring some light and happiness to these cold winter days. 

Exercise

Of course, exercise is one of the best and healthiest things you can do for yourself during this time. Regular exercise will help to naturally release those feel good hormones, giving you a happiness boost and clear headspace. 

It is critically important that we are paying attention to how often we are moving compared to how often we are sitting, now that many are working from home. To start, try setting an alarm at the top of every hour to get up and move. 

We’re excited to still be offering remote pilates classes so you can workout with guidance from your home!

Treat yourself

Having a “treat-yourself-night” once a week will not only help you to relax a bit, but it also gives you something to look forward to. Think about the things you love most that will get you excited to unwind and relax. For example, you can make Friday evenings your dedicated treat-yourself-night where you schedule a Netflix watch party with your friends, put on a beauty face mask, and order your favorite drinks and snacks for delivery without having to leave the house. 

Remember, balance is key here! Keeping it to one day a week will really give you something to look forward to. Plus, you’ll get a sense of calm and relaxation when treat-yourself-day finally arrives! 

Create a relaxing space

Being cooped up inside 24/7 is enough to make anyone go crazy, but an uninviting and messy space can turn the winter blues into a seriously overwhelming problem. Unfortunately, keeping a clean house can feel like a vicious cycle— when you’re feeling down, it is really hard to muster up the energy to clean. On the flip side, being surrounded by mess and clutter can take seasonal depression and increase it exponentially. 

When you’re experiencing this, try to remember to be kind to yourself in the moments where you let clutter build up throughout the day or week, and clean as much as you can, when you can. 

In addition to a clean space, there are things you can add to your home on the cheap to create a cozy atmosphere you’ll feel happy to live in all winter long:

  • Add candles (real or battery operated)
  • Print out photos from happy memories and frame them
  • Hang up twinkle lights
  • Bring in more plants

Develop a self-care routine

“Self-care” is a term that is used loosely these days, but really, the act of self-care looks different for each person. Your personal self-care routine might include taking vitamins every morning to nourish your body, setting alarms in your phone to remind you to drink enough water throughout the day, or purchasing a humidifier to keep your skin hydrated throughout the dry winter months. 

Design your unique self-care routine by assessing the areas of your personal and mental health that need a little more time and attention. From there, create actionable steps to nurture those areas on a regular cadence. 

Get out in nature

Along with exercise, grounding yourself in nature (yes, even in the winter) is one of the best things you can do for your mental health and for your soul. The winter months are usually an excuse to stay warm inside— even more so this year during the pandemic. By doing that, not only do you limit your intake of fresh air, but you also miss out on the restorative energies of nature. Don’t wait until the warm weather hits to explore your local state or county parks! Winter is truly a magical time to explore the woods around you. And if you do find a spurt of nice weather, consider taking your at-home pilates class outside! 

Find more comfort in the winter landscape by practicing “walking meditations.” This is where you take your time walking through nature and focus your thoughts around your five senses: what do you see, smell, taste, touch, and hear as you walk? Bundle up, bring a hot tea in a thermos, and take deep breaths as you walk through nature and watch as you feel your soul recharge! 

Winter can be tough. Throw a global pandemic on top of it and it can feel like better days are completely out of reach. Remember that there is light (and warmth) at the end of this tunnel. In the meantime, use these winter life hacks to make this time not just bearable, but maybe even enjoyable!