When you find that your mood and energy levels are falling faster than the temperature outside, you might be experiencing a case of the winter blues. An average of one-fifth of Americans suffer from these winter blues, also known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). The bad news is we’re still a ways away from bikinis and sand. The good news is there are ways to brighten your spirits and ease those mid-winter doldrums! Arin‘s rounded up some great tips to kiss those blues away once and for all!
Let there be light: It’s scientifically proven that bright environments improve your mood. Unfortunately, Chicago hasn’t seen sunshine in a few weeks (so gloomy!), so I’ve invested in a light box. Sitting next to this light for just 30 minutes a day can be as effective as antidepressant medication. Morning light exposure is also critical. Just getting outside for a few minutes or taking an early morning walk can do your body some good.
Indulge: I think you guys are going to like this one. Some research suggests that dark chocolate can boost happy chemicals (dopamine) in the brain. Just make sure it contains at least 70 percent cocoa—and everything in moderation, of course! Tip: When we’re feeling tired and sluggish, it’s easy to reach for candy or carbs to provide a quick relief. These will actually increase feelings of depression and anxiety, so stay strong!
Get out of town: Having something to look forward to can immediately increase optimism and overall mood. The simple act of planning a vacation will have you feeling all the feels! Escaping to an island may not be an option for everyone (*raises hand), but that doesn’t mean you can’t plan a fun day or night out with friends! Treat yourself to a fun spa day and soak in some heat. The act of plans will make a difference, trust me.
Help others: You guys, there’s no better feeling than lending a hand to those in need. One of my BFF’s just started volunteering at an animal shelter, and she’s absolutely loving it. Making a difference and taking care of puppies? Sign me up! (Bonus if you adopt!) These acts will improve your life satisfaction and help put things into perspective. Things aren’t that bad!
Get social: I know it’s tough, especially when it’s below zero and the last thing you want to do is venture outdoors, but, suck it up! Post-holidays can have you feeling more isolated with an empty calendar. Doctors suggest that the more you isolate, the worse you will feel, so, it’s very important to stay active with friends and family. Try something new, like a cooking class or a glass of wine by the fire.