Even with the mild winter, which much of the country has experienced, many folks are still trying to shake off a case of the “winter blues”. Despite milder-than-normal temperatures, it’s still not warm. In fact, the warm start to the season left us unprepared for the “normal” cold and snow now blanketing large parts of the country. The cold feels “colder” than usual. Days are dull and draggy. You feel sluggish and mopey. And spring seems a million days away.
If you’re plagued by a lack of motivation and your get-up-and-go has got-up-and-went, don’t give into the intense urge to hibernate away the remaining days of winter. These four strategies will get you and your life back on track.
Stick to a schedule
Resist the huge temptation to while away the shorter, darker days of winter in a state of hibernation, with a plan to resume normal activities once the “weather breaks.” Don’t skip Tuesday’s book club, Thursday’s choir practice, or Saturday morning’s power breakfast at your favorite eatery that always fuels a day of chores and errands. Put on an extra layer, or two, grab gloves and a scarf and head out for business as usual. Your mental health will thank you.
Keep your mind active
Winter is the perfect time to launch a new hobby or dust off an old one. Don an apron and try a new recipe or revisit an old favorite. Build a model with your grandchild or revive your love of painting. Tackle that drawer of photos you didn’t have time to put in an album last summer or dig out a jigsaw puzzle. Creative pursuits are a triple threat to the winter blues as they provide entertainment, relaxation and fulfillment.
Make an attitude adjustment
Continually reminding yourself how much you detest winter is not an effective way to banish the winter blues. In fact, such mental or vocal muttering will do just the opposite. Remove the “I hate winter!” mantra from your vocabulary and purposefully replace mental winter-trash-talk with winter-friendly thoughts of steaming mugs of hot chocolate and thick, soft, toasty-warm socks and sweats.
Put on some favorite music, light scented candles throughout the house and indulge in something you rarely have time to pursue in the busier months like reading, watching movies or simply getting together with friends “just because.”
Get Some Sun
- The cold keeps most of us inside where the sun and the vitamin D it contains can’t trigger the release of neurotransmitters in the brain that affect mood. Spend a few more minutes outdoors each day and utilize these other “light absorbing” tricks. Keep the shades up to let more light in, sit near windows whenever possible, and change light bulbs to “full spectrum” bulbs that mimic natural light, creating the same effects on the mind as the real thing.
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