Admittedly, I am writing this blog post as much for me as for whoever may be reading it. It is January 3rd in New York City and my fresh-faced optimism to hit the ground running in 2018 and start my New Year off right, has been replaced with the onset of the dreaded winter blues.
If you live in a cold weather destination, then you’re all too familiar with this time of year. The holidays have passed, the twinkling lights and festive decor are taken down, Christmas trees are unceremoniously tossed out and January and February stretch on like cold nights in the Sahara. Vitamin D levels drop as our friend, the sun, takes his leave of absence and we find ourselves nestling further into chunky knit sweaters and Netflix-fueled evenings.
The winter blues hit me hard. I’m already somewhat of an emotional weather vane and so feel as though my eyes are drooping and I’m morphing into an Eeyore incarnate; that sad donkey from Winnie the Pooh. Yes, as much for you as for myself, here are some ways to beat the dreaded winter blues.
1. Do What Makes You Happy
Seems simple enough, no? When the winter blues hit, I try to listen to myself and do what makes me happy. Perhaps it’s a cozy sweater, favorite movie, and yummy meal; or maybe it’s an evening yoga class and drinks with my better half. Whatever it is, I think it’s important to be extra kind to yourself during these frigid months and to push yourself to do what makes you happy. So, if you have an inkling of an urge to go meet a friend for dinner or take a dance class, then push yourself to go. It’s all too easy to ignore our wants and stay glued to the couch this time of year. Now, to go take my own advice.
2. Have Something to Look Forward to
By far the best way to beat (or at least tolerate the cold weather months) is to have something on the horizon that excites you. In my case (and no surprise here), I have a trip to Guatemala planned. I just ordered my Lonely Planet Guatemala book and am looking forward to reading about the country and planning cool things to see and do there next month. At the very least, the promise of sunshine and the balmy weather is enough to kick the stubborn blues.
3. Let’s Talk About Vitamin D
Let’s talk about the reason we get bummed out in the colder months. Beyond the fact that the holidays are over and sandal season is far away, there is a physiological reason behind the winter blues, which comes down to vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency is common in many people and is something that is frequently seen in the winter months when people are exposed to less sunlight. Lacking vitamin D can impact everything from our immune system (hello, flu season!), to our energy levels, to muscle aches and yes, depression.
According to Healthline, the recommended dosage of Vitamin D is 400-800 IU, although experts suggest going above that. To beat the winter blues, it’s important to give your body the tools it needs to kick winter’s butt. In short, take vitamin D supplements to help your energy, immune system, and overall mood. I am a big fan of Ritual Vitamins for women (sorry, fellas!). There are also light systems that are sold online, which can help boost vitamin D levels and simulate sun exposure.
4. Have a Passion Project
Find something that excites you outside of your daily work deliverables and to-do list. Perhaps your passion project is painting or maybe it’s travel blogging; whatever your calling, I do think it’s important to have a creative outlet during these cold winter months when we’re all cooped up inside. My passion project is blogging and painting in my free time.
Your turn! How do you beat the winter blues? Share below!