Once Christmas is over, people in areas that experience cold weather and dark skies can begin suffering from the winter blahs. Here are some tips for helping yourself through these sometimes difficult months.
Consider Using the Danish Technique of Hygge
One of the best ways to get through the winter blahs is to "lean in" to the season, embracing what it has to offer. Think about Christmas, with its lights, lovely decorations, and spirit-lifting music. The Danish practice of hygge (pronounced hue-guh) involves making your space as cozy as possible to really snuggle into the season.
Use candles, lights, soft blankets, comfortable clothes, peaceful music, uplifting books and movies, and hot beverages routinely to create a mood of comfort, enjoyment, and safety. Think about your cozy home as an oasis in the cold, dark winter. You can learn more here: "Hygge: What We Can Learn from the Danes About How to Weather Winter."
Indulge in Activities Only Available in the Winter
Winter brings opportunities for outdoor recreation that isn't available in warmer months. Take up cross-country or downhill skiing, snowshoeing, or ice skating, and get outdoors. Fresh air and exposure to what sunlight there is will go a long way toward boosting your mood, and you'll also find that staying active during the winter helps combat weight gain that can lead to further blue feelings.
Be Sure to Not Forgo Exercise
Even if you can't get outside to do some kind of winter sport, make sure that you don't give up exercise because it's cold and dreary. Doing so will only make you feel worse. Do what you can to stay active, whether it's a month-by-month gym membership for the winter, joining a class at the YMCA, or doing workout videos at home.
Consider Taking Vitamin D
Many people are deficient in vitamin D, and wintertime makes it worse, especially in northern climates, because there isn't enough sun exposure on bare skin for your body to make enough of this critical substance. Many doctors recommend taking vitamin D year-round, and some recommend taking more in the winter. Low mood is one potential side effect of vitamin D deficiency. Check with your doctor to find out if you should take a vitamin D supplement and, if so, how much.
Eat Extra Well
Though it might be tempting to indulge in comfort food, sugar, and alcohol during the winter, avoiding those things as much as possible and continuing to focus on whole, healthy foods will go a long way toward stabilizing your mood and helping you feel good.
Plan for Summer
Spend some time thinking about what you want to do when the weather gets warmer. Plan your garden and get the seeds started inside at the appropriate time. Start to plan and save for a spring vacation or staycation to enjoy the sunshine and warmth. Think about what new hobby or activity you'd like to take up when the weather gets warmer, and if you need any new equipment for it, spend some time researching and acquiring it. Dream a dream of spring, and enjoy the daydreams and immerse yourself in the preparation when the days are cold.
Get Help If You Need It
Some people suffer from a more serious form of winter blahs called seasonal affective disorder. If you feel very sad, depressed, or suffer from intense negative thoughts, don't hesitate to go to your doctor for help.