For many people, this time of year is associated with the down-drag of the doldrums – and it can be hard to snap out of the winter blues.
Evenings are dark, cold and long. Sunshine is limited. The hubbub of the holidays is long gone, and you’re neck deep in work. You’re tired of wearing your winter clothes, but summer seems forever away. Valentine’s Day is the one holiday that is often more depressing than not, and many people have put on a few pounds after several months of hearty comfort food.
When I worked at a mom-and-pop natural food store, a woman came in during mid-February and asked for an herbal remedy to perk her up. “I just feel down,” she said. “Miserable. I can’t figure out why.”
“It’s February,” my manager replied. “We’re ALL miserable.”
Do you have the winter blues? Quite different from clinical depression, the winter blues are nevertheless a slow, downward drag on your spirit. You probably just want to curl up into a ball under a blanket, with a good book or bad TV show, until the flowers of springtime arrive.
But you can snap out of it. You don’t have to wait until springtime sunshine arrives to feel like there’s a flower in your soul. You’re going to have to override your natural, seasonal urges to hibernate indoors and eat melted cheese - but you can do it!
How to Snap Out of the Winter Blues
- Go out with the girls (or guys). There’s nothing than can remind you how great life is better than a night out on the town with your friends. Invite a few besties, and a couple of newcomers to the mix, and do something out of the box – a wacky improv show, winter beer festival, museum evening event or acrobatic circus.
- Book a trip. Buying plane tickets to an amazing vacation destination will immediately lift your spirits – and February is actually the perfect time to book your summer vacation. Take advantage of the long, dark evenings to plan your next adventure. Create an image collage or count-down calendar near your desk for a daily reminder of your trip.
- Take a daily walk. Rainy and cold outside? Who cares! Get a raincoat if you need one. You won’t melt. There’s something wonderfully invigorating about strolling in the rain or snow and savoring every step while everyone else is running for cover. Resolve to take a daily walk, no matter what. It will make you feel alive – and will soon be the part of your day that you look forward to the most!
- Organize something. If you’re the type that gets juiced up by a label maker, then organizing a cluttered closet or room can give you a boost. Tackle that mess than you’ve been meaning to.
- Spend the day playing with kids or dogs. Borrow a friend or relative’s dependents for the day and fill your afternoon with toys and games. It’s a great way to get back into the moment. And you’ll be so relieved to hand them off at the end of the day – your dark, boring evening will feel like a luxurious indulgence.
- Allow your funk to exist. Give yourself one entire day to feel morose, eat chocolate cake, listen to sad music, soak in a hot bath, and think “FML” over and over again. At some point, you’ll start to feel a little silly, and realize that actually your life is pretty good. But allowing your winter blues to “be” can often help them go away. Being happy all the time is not a reasonable goal. Your blues are natural, and there’s nothing wrong with feeling funky now and then.
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