9 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues

Article referenced from Brigitt Earley and Melanie Rud 

Here are 9 ways that you can help improve your mood during the winter!

1. Give your skin some TLC

There’s no denying that your skin looks better in the summer, with its sun-kissed glow and fresh dewiness (thank you, humidity). There’s also no denying that as temperatures and humidity levels plummet, all that cold, dry air takes a toll on your complexion. That’s why fall is the perfect time to up your skin game. Reevaluate the ingredients in your skincare routine and get the pros involved. Check out the Breathe Blog post on How to Protect your Skin in 2021

2. Make your environment brighter

When your body is craving more daylight, sitting next to an artificial light—also called a light box—for 30 minutes per day can be as effective as antidepressant medication. Opening blinds and curtains, trimming back tree branches, and sitting closer to windows can also help provide an extra dose of sunshine.

3. Eat smarter

Having a well-balanced diet it so important for our mental health. Ensure you are trying your best to consume enough fruits and vegetables, along with protein and healthy carbohydrates. Certain foods, like chocolate, can help to enhance your mood and relieve anxiety. Other foods, like candy provide temporary feelings of euphoria, but could ultimately increase feelings of anxiety and depression.

4. Simulate dawn

People with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a form of depression that usually begins in late fall or early winter and fades as the weather improves, may feel depressed, irritable, lethargic, and have trouble waking up in the morning—especially when it’s still dark out. Studies show that a dawn simulator ($50; walgreens.com), a device that causes the lights in your bedroom to gradually brighten over a set period of time, can serve as an antidepressant and make it easier to get out of bed.

5. Exercise

2005 study from Harvard suggests walking fast for about 35 minutes a day five times a week, or 60 minutes a day three times a week improved symptoms of mild to moderate depression. Exercising under bright lights may be even better for seasonal depression: A preliminary study found that exercise under bright light improved general mental health, social functioning, depressive symptoms, and vitality, while exercise in ordinary light improved vitality only. Try these mood boosting workouts and 10 stretches to keep your body healthy.

6. Turn on the tunes

In a 2013 study, researchers showed that listening to upbeat or cheery music significantly improved participant’s mood in both the short and long term.

7. Plan a day-trip

Longing for an adventure? With the pandemic surrounding our lives, it’s hard to take a vacation…but the simple act of planning a day-trip to your local beach, or a road trip to one of your favorite parks causes a significant increase in overall happiness! Make a picnic lunch, grab a Starbucks, or order some take-out and enjoy your day in an environment (safely) that isn’t your home!

8. Help others

Want to help others while social-distancing? Sort out your wardrobe (or even your whole house) and take your unwanted items to your local homeless shelter, thrift store, or Salvation Army!

9. Get outside

Talking yourself into taking a walk when the temperatures plummet isn’t easy, but the benefits are big: Spending time outside (even when it’s chilly!) can improve focus, reduce symptoms of SAD, and lower stress levels

Get Help

Not sure where to go to find help or who to turn to? Consulting with your healthcare provider or another trusted professional is always a great start.

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