How to Combat the Winter Blues
Use soymilk to make delicious mashed potatoes.

How to Combat the Winter Blues

Days are shorter and the temperature is colder. Winter is here.  With less daylight and lots of snowy weather, it’s not uncommon to feel like all you want to do is curl up under a big blanket in front of the television set and hibernate.  But spring is far away and that’s no way to live all winter long.  Follow these helpful tips to warm things up a little, even on the chilliest of days.

1 – Accept the season.  Dreading the months ahead will only set you up for disaster in the end.  Try to remind yourself of all the good things winter brings: lattes and hot chocolate, blue jeans, fuzzy boots, tobogganing, ice-skating and holiday celebrations.

2 – Turn your bedroom lights on 30 minutes before you wake up.  Put your lights on a timer to make sure they wake up before you do.  This creates the illusion of a sunrise, making it easier for you to feel awake when your alarm goes off.

3 – Expose yourself to sunlight as soon as you can.  Once the sun is up in the morning, take five minutes with your coffee and stand by your bedroom window or step out onto the back deck.  The more light you allow yourself to experience, the longer each day will feel.

4 – Exercise.  Fit in just 15 to 20 minutes of physical activity every day.  If it’s not too cold, take a walk or a jog outside.  Exercise stimulates the positive mood hormones, serotonin and dopamine, which tend to be on the lower side if we have the winter blues.  These powerful hormones help us feel happy and calm.

5 – Start a new winter activity.  One sure way to prevent yourself from enjoying the winter season is by avoiding all activities associated with it.  Open up this year and try something new such as skiing, skating, snowboarding, winter hiking, sledding, tubing, playing music, astronomy, or winter-scenic photography.  When you learn to embrace the season with your newfound hobby, it’ll be easier to stay happy right through to spring.

6 – Avoid a rut.  During the season where every day seems dull and gloomy, it’s easy to fall into a bad routine.  Jazz it up a little with a new hairstyle, vibrant clothes or funky makeup.

7 – Make your home cozier.  Feel the warmth with bright wall colours, a new collection of artwork and fresh throw pillows on your chairs and sofas.  Even just the tiniest of touches can make the world of difference.

8 – Dress appropriately.  Most people who dislike winter say it’s because they’re always cold.  As you make your way from point A to B this season, dress properly.  Wear a hat, gloves, scarf, boots and a warm coat.  If you’re still cold, try wearing tights or long johns under your jeans for an inconspicuous and cozy addition to your winter wardrobe.

9 – Give yourself something to look forward to.  Lift your mood through the cold winter by scheduling a fun warm-weather activity in the Spring or splurge on a family vacation down south to get out of the cold and into the heat for a week.

10 – Maintain a healthy diet.  Eat foods rich in the essential vitamins your body needs to stay healthy and energetic.  A few of the best vitamins to keep in mind are B, C, D-3 and E.

Follow these 10 tips to battle the blues and bring on the energy.  Start early to make sure you don’t fall into a bad routine early on.  Focus on the positives and your winter will fly by in no time.