Baby It's Cold Outside: Fighting the Winter Blues

There always seems to be a letdown after the holidays, the bitter cold of January seeps into our bones and makes us reluctant to leave our warm houses for any type of activity.  The wind howls outside our windows, the skies are gray and dreary for days on end, and we forget what our neighbors even look like.  The winter blues, for some people, are more serious, becoming a disorder called Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD.  Whether you have a touch of the blues, or more serious winter depressive symptoms, there are some ways to help the early months of the New Year pass by more quickly. winter_blues

Increase the amount of sunlight you are exposed to daily.  Because sunlight naturally provides us with Vitamin D which increases our energy and mood, try sitting in a spot of sun from your window or spend some time outdoors daily.  If your skies are gray and cloudy, consider purchasing a light box that simulates the sun's natural rays. 

Start a new project or begin a long awaited hobby.  If there's something that you've always wanted to learn how to do, like knitting, now is the perfect time to start that new project.  Maybe it's as simple as visiting the library and finding new books to read.  Finding a new projet gives you a new purpose and will make those winter months fly. 

Pay it forward.  Becoming a volunteer at your favorite organization will provide you with the outlet you need to lift your spirits, and you will be helping others at the same time.  Consider volunteering at your local food pantry or a senior living facility, or nursing home.

Start a weekly coffee club with your friends.  Arrange to meet once or twice weekly for coffee or lunch at your facorite spot and catch up with friends.  Better yet, meet a friend for a wallk outside, and then stop for coffee.  You'll be getting a double dose of mood booster, sunshine and social shine.  What could be better? 

Exercise.  Did you know that one hour of aerobic exercise outside (even when it's cloudy) has the same therapeutic effects as 2.5 hours of light treatment indoors?  This is because it raises serotonin levels, which tend to get low when you have the winter blues. 

Watch your cravings.  When your serotonin levels are low, one of the things your body tends to do is to crave food high in carbohydrates, especially high sugar foods like junk food and soda, because they raise serotonin levels.

There is hope for people who eperience the winter blues.  Become aware of your own personal yearly cycle--when you experience your greatest lows and when it is the hardest to stay positive.  Think about what would make you feel better during those times and then plan ahead so getting through it will be easier.  Each of us has one or two things we can do to help ourselves through this hard time of year.  Find a distraction to deflect the dark feelings, devote time to things that help lift the spirit, delight in the things that bring comfort and relief.  Remember, this too shall pass and the winter blues will be but a memory for another year.

Great support and education are at your fingertips!  For more information on dealing with the winter blues or Seasonal Affective Disorder, contact a care representative at Lutheran Homes of Michigan by calling 989-652-3470 or by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

What ways have your found to be useful in fighting the winter blues?


Three Practical Ways to Fight the Winter Blues 83.

How to Fight the Winter Blues.