This winter thing is getting me a little down. It’s currently -30 (Celsius) with the wind chill here in Saskatoon and there is no end to winter in sight. Six weeks left of winter? I wish it were only six more weeks that I were facing. Last year we had snow until May, and I know from almost 40 years of living in this province that I can expect winter to extend until at least the Easter weekend.
Cold temps and short days are leaving me bereft of energy. This week, I was in bed before 10pm on more than one occasion and racked up multiple 9-hour-plus nights of sleep. I’m feeling good this weekend, which is fantastic, but I find February one of the hardest months from a mood perspective, so I know that I need to seek energy to feel happier this month.
7 Ways to Fight the Winter Blues
- Get a cardio workout. I am really enjoying my home yoga practice and I am getting back into lifting weights, but I find that a cardiovascular workout boosts my mood more than any other kind of physical activity. I am committing to a minimum of three cardio workouts per week to get and stay happier this February.
- Tropical dreaming. I may not be heading to a sunny beach any time soon, but I can imagine that I’m there. I’m lining up movies set in warm and sunny locales to keep those winter blues away. My movie list is based pretty much entirely on where the movie is set rather than on whether or not I think it’s a good movie, or even a fun movie to watch (I’m referring especially to Eat Pray Love). It’s entirely about beach views and sunny skies. I’m thinking of Blue Crush, The Descendants, 50 First Dates, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Just Go With It, Cocktail, Six Days Seven Nights, Fool’s Gold, Castaway, Couples Retreat, Eat Pray Love, Jaws, Pearl Harbor, Into the Blue, The Talented Mr. Ripley.
- Open the blinds. Let’s be serious. I am not going for a quick walk around the block when the wind chill is making it crazy cold. I know that it’s recommended that you get outside and expose yourself to natural light to boost your mood, even in the winter, but I don’t think that the people who published that research live where I live. And even if they do, there’s nothing like the idea of heading out into the bitter cold to make me want to curl up under a blanket on the couch. But I can open my blinds and let the light in. The good thing about really cold weather is that it’s usually accompanied by clear skies, meaning that it’s sunny a lot.
- Get enough sleep. Not getting enough shut-eye is a surefire way to feel sluggish and cranky, not to mention the fact that it affects your body’s ability to fight off the fun viruses that seem to be floating around at this time of year. I’m doing myself a favour and promising that I will get at least eight hours per night, which means being in bed by 10:30pm most nights. It’s not always easy, especially since my daughter has been fighting bedtime lately, but it is important.
- Stay hydrated. It tends to be easier said than done during these dry, winter months, but dehydration and fatigue are linked, so it’s probably time for me to bring a water bottle to the office. I find it easier to sip all day when I’m at home on the weekends, with water and herbal teas my drinks of choice. Tea has the additional benefit of warming me up from the inside. It’s like giving myself a hug.
- Listen to music. Blasting some tunes is pretty much a guaranteed way for me to get happier, and research shows that I’m not alone in that response to music. Whether it’s an energy boosting playlist from Songza or a playlist of my own creation, music gets me smiling and dancing and, embarrassingly enough, singing.
- Declutter. As I look around my house, I see that clutter has accumulated on nearly every available space, and it does nothing to increase my energy level. At the same time, the idea of decluttering the whole house is overwhelming, which is also a big energy suck. Why not make it easier and commit to something more manageable, like 15 minutes of decluttering daily?
What do you do to boost your mood during the winter months?