This weekend was unseasonably warm and the sun was shiny for most of it! The warm-up arrived at the perfect time. The previous few weeks had been freezing. The type of weather where the snot in your nose freezes and you throw an extra blanket or two on your bed. Just downright cold.
January is always a tough month. The holidays are over, there’s a lot of pressure to start the new year with a fresh perspective, the days are short it starts getting dark as soon as you leave work, and the weather just adds another layer of miserable. It’s not in your head. Science shows that seasonal depression or the winter blues are real. The lack of sunshine can affect your mood and get you feeling down in the dumps. It’s been an issue for me since college. I used to associate feeling down this time of year with my birthday and thinking I was just stressed out about turning a year older. Nowadays, I realize that it’s truly a chemical thing and that I have to make every effort to actively fight the winter blues.
I’ve put together a list of things that are helpful for me. I’ve also found that simply being intentional about doing things is helpful. Instead of thinking something is a chore, look at it as an opportunity. For instance, walking the dog in this weather is painful, but I’ve started to bundle up, turn on a podcast and track my steps. Juneau deserves to get outside whether it’s freezing or not, so I’ve started using that time as ‘me time’. Here are some other tricks I use to fight the winter blues:
1. Get up and get dressed.
Cozy days on the couch are the best, but overdoing it can get to you. I’ve found that there is no better medicine than a shower and some makeup. Feeling like a human being goes a long way! So, sure, take it easy and relax on those snowy mornings. But make sure you get yourself put together before too long. Even if you just throw on yoga pants, it’ll do wonders for your mind.
2. Talk to someone about it.
I’m an open book about my depression because not only does it help me to talk about it, but I want you to know that it’s totally normal and others are feeling it, too. Habitually, I like to hibernate and be alone when I’m feeling down, but the moment I talk about it I start feeling better.
3. Book a vacation!
Give yourself something to look forward to! There’s nothing better than getting out of town and changing the scenery when you’re feeling down. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant – a day trip or a weekend getaway will do the trick just fine.
There’s literally nothing better than a good sweat session when you’re feeling down. The hardest part is getting to the gym, but once you’re there, you won’t regret it. I’ve started taking a pre-workout before my gym time and it’s made all the difference in the world. I like to workout in the evening, and it’s tough to find the energy some days. A few swigs of the pre-workout and I’m ready to go! Exercise makes you happy, it’s science.
5. Take advantage. In a few months you’ll be so busy you;ll be wanting some down time.
Just remember, in a few months, your summer evenings and weekends will be filled up with endless plans. Take advantage of the downtime now, you’re gonna miss it!
What do you do to fight the winter blues?