This time of year can be rough. Most of the country is tangled up in bitter cold. With the holidays long gone and spring seeming so far away, it’s easy to find yourself falling into the winter blues. There is even a term for what many have dubbed the most depressing day of the year—Blue Monday, the third Monday in January. It isn’t a scientific term, but it reflects our moods as we do battle with the winter weather, struggle with debt from the holidays, and come to terms with the fact that we’ve probably let a few New Year’s resolutions slide.
That all being said, here are some tips to get you through the mid-winter blahs.
Help your community
Monday was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a day when many take up volunteer projects or participate in service days. If you’re feeling a little down, this is the perfect time to find joy in working with others in need! Volunteering is a great way to bring about some positivity this winter. If you’re looking for ideas on what to do, check out VolunteerMatch.org, which matches individuals with causes they care about.
Get out and enjoy being social
Tired of staying in? Organize a night out with friends. By simply being around people, your mood is likely to improve. Psychology Today reported that one of the benefits of socializing is better mental health. Interacting with others actually decreases feelings of depression. Even though you might not want to be out in the cold, getting out of the house and meeting up with friends can be refreshing.
Give in to winter and get cozy!
You know the old phrase “If you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em?” Do that with winter—take on the coziness, the cold, and the snow. I’ve always said I have to live in a place with all four seasons. By embracing the traditions and things that can be fun about the winter, it makes me look forward to them rather than dread the subzero temperatures. Hot chocolate, fleece blankets, and binge-watching new Netflix shows, anyone?
Find the light
Light is a scientifically proven mood booster. When the days get shorter, it’s all the more important to experience natural light while you can. Open the curtains, raise the blinds, and even crack a window to breathe in some fresh air. Those who really feel the lack of light can try a light box, which can be an effective remedy. You can also lighten your mood by doing things like adding a prayer of gratitude to your daily routine or taking time to meditate at sunrise.
Eat the right foods
Sure, it’s easy to indulge in comfort foods like macaroni and cheese or chicken pot pie, but heavy carbohydrates tend to give us less energy, making us feel even less excited to be in mid-January. Choose healthy foods like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, and drink a lot of water. Here’s a slow cooker veggie lasagna recipe that still gives you the comfort food taste and smell, but is chock full of vegetables.
Try something new
If you’ve always thought about changing your look, now is the time to do it! Have you wanted to learn HTML but never had the time? Try it now. Winter is a great time of year to learn new skills, or if you’re like me, do things like fill up those scrapbooks that have been sitting in your room for years!
Originally published on January 18, 2017.