The holidays are over, the days are short and winter (for most of us) has officially set in. Even the most cheerful among us can feel a little blue during this time of year. Working a 7-to-7 shift might mean you don’t see daylight at all. Or if you’re a lucky night shifter, you might get a peek of sunshine on your way home in the morning.
Don’t let the winter doldrums get you down. Here are a few tips to keep your spirits up and the blues away during the coldest time of year.
1. Get Some Sunshine
Winter’s nothing to be afraid of! Yes, it’s cold. But bundle up well and get out there for a few minutes. Take some deep breaths of that chilly air. Go for a brisk walk and within a few minutes your body will warm up. You’ll feel invigorated and less inclined to burrow into your den. And you might even think more clearly. This study found a positive correlation between exposure to sunlight and cognitive functioning. If you can’t bring yourself outside, just paying attention to the sunny spots in your home and spending time in them can help.
2. Book a Weekend Getaway
So you don’t have the time or money to spend a few weeks in St. Martin. How about a two-night getaway somewhere nearby? Or check out what kind of last minute flights you can find for a warmer but less exotic (and cheaper) locale. Having a vacation to look forward to will put a little spring in your step and get you through those remaining weeks of winter.
3. Use Your Imagination
Can’t afford a beach vacation? Then take one in your head. Research shows that regularly practicing guided imagery can have a lasting positive impact on anxiety, depression, and stress. Guided imagery is a wonderful tool to help you let go and transport to another world. Read this free guided imagery, then close your eyes and let your mind do the traveling.
4. Sun Yourself, Artificially
Studies have long supported that artificial light therapy can have a powerful effect on Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). The key is to use it consistently and continue use through early spring. For help figuring out what to look for in a light box, read this article from the Mayo Clinic.
5. Plan a Social Gathering. Or Three.
If you tend to hibernate in the winter, chances are you’re not going to spontaneously head out on a Friday night when it’s a chilly 25 degrees. But if you have social dates penned into your calendar, you’re far less likely to bail. And once you do get out, you’ll be so glad you did. Don’t have anything on the agenda? Invite some friends and coworkers to a game night at your place. Or book a friend for a movie date, regardless of what’s playing in the theaters. Scheduling some bright spots in an otherwise dreary season can make time fly … and before you know it, spring will be here.