5 Steps Towards Conquering the Winter Blues

By Christine Ascher on January 25, 2018

Starting a new semester in the middle of January can be tough; the excitement of the holiday season is over, and now you have to go back to school while trudging through the remaining months of cold weather before you can finally be rewarded with the warmth of spring. It’s not uncommon in the midst of these winter months to find yourself feeling down, or to not feel quite like yourself.

Fortunately, because many people encounter the winter blues at some point, there are many suggestions for ways to break out of your rut. Though you still have a bit more time to get through before the spring arrives, these tips can help you cheer yourself up in spite of the dreary weather outside.

Road, trees, snow, winter

Image via https://pixabay.com

1. Embrace the Winter Weather

While it’s usually tempting during the cold, gray winter months to just stay inside and watch movies all day, doing so can leave you feeling bored and listless. One great way to conquer the winter blues is by forcing yourself to get outside regardless of the weather. Take advantage of the season by playing in the snow, or go for a walk or jog to enjoy the feel of the crisp air on your face. Being outside for a bit during the day can play a big role in improving your mood, especially if it means being exposed to some sunlight and absorbing a bit of Vitamin D. Even if you only go out for a brief amount of time, the activity and fresh air will help to expel some of those winter blues.

2. Exercise Regularly

When it’s cold outside and all you want to do is bundle up with some hot chocolate, it can be appealing to forgo your usual exercise routine in favor of having a lazy day. However, too many days without exercise may cause you to feel sluggish and down. To avoid a dip in your mood, it’s important to stay active and maintain a regular fitness routine. Even a brisk walk in the morning will be beneficial, as staying physically active will help prevent you from falling into a winter rut. It will also give you an outlet for your energy, and will encourage your brain to release some endorphins to improve your mood and drive the winter blues away.

3. Conquer the Cold

One of the worst feelings associated with winter is that of being cold all the time. If you tend to go out underdressed for the weather, the cold will not only make you uncomfortable, but can leave you feeling irritable as well. According to NHS, “staying warm can reduce the winter blues by half”—in other words, it’s worth it to dress warmly when venturing outdoors. You can also keep warm by taking advantage of all of those warm foods and drinks that are popular in the wintertime. Have some healthy soup for dinner or a cup of hot chocolate when you get home from class. The warmer you are both when indoors and outdoors, the less susceptible you’ll be to the effects of the winter blues.

4. Socialize

Again, it’s easy during the winter to go into a sort of hibernation, where you spend the majority of time at home on your own rather than venturing out into the cold. In becoming more of a homebody, you may inadvertently find yourself spending less time with your friends and more time on your own, which if it goes on for too long can make you feel lonely and down. Instead of spending all of your free time in, make an effort to see your friends and to keep your social calendar relatively full. You can even invite your friends over for a movie night or dinner if you really don’t want to leave the comfort of your home; just being around other people will help to lift your spirits considerably.

5. Enjoy Indoor Activities

When it’s too cold to go out, avoid the winter blues by finding some new things to do inside. Try picking up a new hobby during the winter months, such as drawing or scrapbooking. In addition to giving you a new way to fill up your time indoors, these activities will also give you a way to channel some of your creative energy, and will help to reduce your stress levels. Especially considering you’ll probably want to spend your time outdoors once spring comes around, it’s a good idea to take advantage of all the fun things you can do inside now; read some of those books you’ve been meaning to get to, or tackle some of the tasks that you’ve been putting off. The more you have to do while you’re stuck inside, the less you’ll feel the negative effects of the season.

Though the winter blues may seem insurmountable as you encounter one dreary day after another, being aware of how you’re feeling and taking steps to combat it can help you greatly improve your mood. By maintaining a healthy lifestyle, full social calendar, and resisting that ever-tempting urge to become a couch potato, you’ll hopefully start to feel more energized and upbeat. If you find yourself still feeling listless, consider consulting a doctor to see what else you can do. Above all, keep in mind that the winter will come to an end eventually, and that (even if it doesn’t feel like it) spring is just around the corner!

By Christine Ascher

Uloop Writer
Hi! I'm Christine and I'm currently a senior at the University of Southern California, where I study English Literature, Economics, and French.

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