It’s November and if you’re living here in Canada, you’re likely preparing for the cold winter days. To some people that may sound like a cozy dream, but for myself and many others who live in this climate, it can feel like a nightmare.
With reduced hours of sunshine, freezing cold winds and the stress of driving in white outs, you may find yourself with the winter blues. It’s very common and can cause symptoms of depression if not recognized and treated. For my own emotional health (and yours), I’ve come up with a few tips on how to reduce the risk of developing the winter blues and how to even enjoy the winter season.
Utilize Day Light
As much as possible, try to find that sunlight. Open your blinds when you wake up, sit by the window as you drink your morning coffee, take a walk in the daylight on your lunch break and try to find pockets of time where you can be in the sunshine.
Sunlamps are meant to have a positive impact on your melatonin levels which is a hormone that controls your wake and sleep cycles. This impact will improve your sleep patterns thereby giving you more energy and mood regulation. A company called the Luminette have kindly sent me some sun glasses that have the beneficial lighting (similar to the sunlamps.) I find them very convenient to use while I’m getting ready in the morning.
I’m very passionate about movement and I do believe it improves your mood, especially in the winter. Yoga, cycling, dancing, walking, are ways to move your body and release your endorphins (the happy hormones.) Getting outside with the fresh air is likely better but remember it’s also beneficial to exercise indoors or in the dark (perhaps a bit more fun in the bedroom too 😉)
If your budget and time allows, plan a vacation in a warm destination. If that’s not an option for you, plan a "stay-cation" or a weekend getaway somewhere close. Get creative and plan ahead. Having something fun to look forward to can be just as exciting as the adventure.
Head outdoors for a walk, preferably in the sunlight, and consider inviting a friend to walk with you on a routine basis. Having a friend come with you can help keep you accountable while carving out time for important social interaction.
Goals or projects
Purge, paint, clean your closet, start a project, have something fun and positive to work on. This will help keep your mind busy, and hopefully the outcome is extra enjoyable once complete.
Plan an outdoor adventure
Snow shoeing, skiing, skating, building a snowman are just a few of the fun adventures that can only be done during the winter months. Embrace the beauty of the season and when it’s way too snowy and windy to get out, cozy up, get comfortable and enjoy a great movie.
Pay attention to what you're consuming
Surround yourself with people who are positive and fun, listen to upbeat music and/or podcasts with a good message (stay tuned for my amazing podcast coming out in a couple of weeks!) My sister and I were shopping recently and she was specifically looking for a book that was funny, positive and uplifting because she knew she needed to read this type of content lately. Take note of how you're feeling daily and pay attention to when you need to consume more positive messaging.
Unless I decide to pick up my life and move to an island down south, it looks like I’m going to have to deal with the cold for another season. I’m looking forward to including these tips in my day and hopefully enjoy the winter months more then I did last year. I hope you're all able to do the same.
Cheers to the snowy season. May it be bright; may it be fun; may it be very, very short!