Thursday, January 10, 2019

How to Combat the Winter Blues

For the past few years, I’ve noticed that I tend to get in a bit of a funk in January and February. The Winter blues are definitely a real thing especially when the weather is gloomy, and the sun doesn’t seem to want to come out for days. Growing up, I’ve realized just how much continuous overcast or rainy weather can affect my mood, and I’m glad that for the most part, I don’t have to add super cold temperatures to that as well (granted it was 31 degrees when I walked outside this morning, which is chilly for Alabama). Thankfully, when I start to feel like I’m in a funk for one reason or another I’ve discovered some ways that help to get me out of it or at least stop thinking about it for a little bit. For any of y’all looking for ways to embrace the first two months of the year with a bit more optimism than I typically do, here are my best tricks.

We all know that working out causes endorphins which in turn make you happier. This seems like a no brainer if you’re in a funk. It also doesn’t hurt that it probably matches up with your resolutions or goals for the start of the new year. While I love going to the Y, if it’s nice outside you can bet that despite the cold I’ll be going for a run or a walk there instead. 

Put on a Happy Playlist
Thank goodness for Spotify and the multitude of playlists available for browsing. While it tends to take me a bit to find a new playlist I love that I feel like I do not have to skip every other song on, it’s worth it when I do find one. Most of the time with music this time of year I stick to really upbeat sing-along songs like the ones on Spotify’s “Songs to Sing in the Shower.”

Head Outside
Being outside in the sun is one of the quickest ways to boost my mood. This can be tricky though considering I work from 7:30 to 5:30 meaning I’m at my desk away from the windows for a good bit of the day. On my hour-long lunch breaks when the sun is out, I try to spend at least part of it outside if it’s not too cold. Sometimes if I need a real change of scenery, I’ll run an errand during my break that I dread doing after work when it’s dark, and there is traffic. Weekends are my real time to be outside so I try to spend some time on Saturday and Sunday soaking up any Vitamin D I can get. 

Pick up a New Book
Although I know that the sun will start to stay up later as the months go on sometimes, it’s hard not to feel like it’s so much later when 8:00 or 9:00 rolls around. I’ve found myself attempting to use this to my advantage by getting in bed a bit earlier and taking some time to read. I feel like my to-read list is ever growing with recommendations from friends and it feels good to be tackling it book by book. I usually put on one of my favorite pajama sets, light a candle, and get comfortable knowing that even if I read for an hour, I’ll still be getting plenty of shut-eye. 

Take a Shower (or Bubble Bath)
I’m not sure if anything has the power to change my mood as quickly as taking a shower or bubble bath. I like being clean and automatically feel productive when I’ve done this which impacts my mood. It’s refreshing and a necessary thing to do which feels like a win.

Go for a Drive
I’ve always loved going for a drive as a way to clear my head. In college, I did this constantly and having mountains nearby definitely didn’t hurt scenery wise. I’ve found myself doing this less since I’ve moved, but sometimes it’s the best way for me to clear my head. It’s the perfect time to listen to good music and be alone which is definitely the way I recharge. 

Plan a Trip
When the winter blues are especially bad, it can be nice to have something to look forward to. Now that I’m out of college and grad school and am even not teaching (which is also defined by an academic calendar) I have come to realize that vacation time is no longer built into my schedule in the same way it has been previously. By planning a trip, even one home, it gives me something to get excited about which lifts my mood. Right now, I’m hoping to visit my brother and his fiancé in D.C. in March and am also looking forward to my best friend, Sophia’s bachelorette in Charleston in April.

I hope that none of you feel like you’re in a Winter funk, but if you do give one of these things a try and let me know if it helps. If you have any other go-tos, please leave them for me below as I’m always looking for new ways to be more appreciative of the present. 

1 comment :

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