Oh, the weather outside is…garbage. That very first snowfall is so pretty and awe-inspiring, but after we had those few 40 degree days and all of it melted away into little brown puddles of slush, it got kinda – old. It’s so easy during these winter months to get stuck in a rut that’s hard to climb out of – especially when the weather is crappy. After battling these sometimes crippling feelings of depression, stagnation and general blues for the last several years around this time, I’ve learned some tricks that might not completely make the winter blues go away – but they can sometimes take a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day and turn it into a pretty tolerable one.
Here are some of my tips:
1.) Take a multi-vitamin: I started taking a multi-vitamin every day religiously a while ago under doctor’s orders and have seen a world of difference in my outlook on life. I went a few days without one and I could definitely tell that something was off. Now, I’m definitely not a doctor – so check with yours first, but if there’s a chance it could up your mood AND promote physical health – why not?
2.) Vitamin D, anyone? Again, not a doctor so check with yours first, but when the sun doesn’t shine through the clouds, we aren’t producing as much of this essential vitamin, which our body produces when our skin is exposed to the sun. Several studies, including several done by the National Institute of Health, suggest a link between lack of sunlight and sinking Vitamin D levels and depression.
3.) Open the blinds/drapes: This one was imperative for me when I used to live in Ludington in the middle of the woods with a newborn baby. It is amazing what simply opening the blinds or drapes will do for your outlook on life! What little sun and natural light there is on a cold and blustery day can up your serotonin (think happy/soothing brain chemical) levels and boost your mood even if it’s only just a little bit! Can’t hurt to try it!
4.) Exercise: I’m going to quote the famous Elle Woods from Legally Blonde here – “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy! Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands. They just don’t!” Endorphins produce an almost euphoric feeling in the body with no negative outcomes like addiction or withdrawl. When you exercise you are taking care of yourself and making yourself a priority. Mental, emotion and physical boost? Yes, please!! Are you a working momma or just cannot seem to find the time to exercise? Set your phone timer for every half hour and at the very least – do a flight of stairs or a walk around the parameter of your workplace.
5.) Essential oils: You can do a lot of research and reading about essential oils online. I can honestly say I do not know much about them. I’ve done some reading and research and I know one thing to be true for me: essential oils (lavender, orange, lemon, peppermint to name a few) can be diffused for aromatherapy – the use of plant or essential oils to alter one’s mood.
6.) Dance party (of one): I know, I know. We’re not teenagers anymore (most of us, anyway) but being silly and being able to laugh at yourself is such a liberating feeling. This is one you can get the kids involved in too! Fire up your iTunes (or any other medium where you can crank the volume) and let yourself GO!
7.) Fresh air: Yes, even in these cold temperatures. Even just the change of atmosphere can snap you out of a slump. A fresh breath of air can bring on a fresh perspective. It will break up the monotony of your everyday routine. Looking at the world from a different angle can really make a difference.
8.) Do something nice for yourself: Do you have your eye on the latest OPI nail polish color? What about pampering yourself with a full-body massage? You work so hard every day. Allowing yourself a little pleasure is not only encouraged – it can brighten your day and your mood! It doesn’t have to be something huge like a sports car or a diamond ring. I was once told that before I was Shaun’s wife and Colin and Reagan’s mommy – I was Amber. Treating myself helps me to remember those kinds of things.
9.) Do something nice for someone else: Do you have a Free Little Library in your area? Take those books that you don’t really need anymore and donate them to those who need them! Purge all those clothes that you don’t need anymore and take them up to the Salvation Army. Volunteer at the hospital, soup kitchen, warming shelter, etc. While the recognition is not necessary, sometimes just knowing that you helped someone who will deeply appreciate it makes your heart feel good.
10.) Yoga: The dictionary has defined yoga as a system of exercises for mental and physical health, but it is so much more than that! It requires discipline and sacrifice – something of which mothers know quite a bit about. I found yoga in college and will admit that it took several classes for me to truly get the hang of it, but once I got there MAN!!! Usually an hour in length – the only thing that matters during your practice is what is happening between the four corners of your mat. It’s all about honoring yourself and the fact that you deserve at least an hour to yourself to reflect and concentrate on something other than the busy, frantic rush of life.
There are many more I’m sure that I could add to this list. However, start here. If you have any to add, we want to hear them!! What do YOU do to combat the winter blues??