I’ve lived in the Syracuse area for most of my 32 years of life. The only exception being four years in college, but Binghamton is not much different when it comes to winter weather. So after 32 years, I should be used to our long winters. Slippery roads. Below zero temperatures. Icy winds whipping snow in my face. Rarely seeing the sun. It can be enough to cause moodiness in just about anyone. Yes, I’m talking about the dreaded winter blues.
The winter blues are pretty common and are caused by the not-so-fun parts of the season. Once the magic of the holidays has worn off, all we’re left with are the shorter ays, grayer skies, and colder temperatures of winter. It can put even the cheeriest of people in a gloomy funk that can be hard to break out of. You might feel a lack of energy, be less productive, and even start craving unhealthy foods.
Here are a few things I like to do to put a little pep in my step when I feel the winter blahs creep in. Other than consuming large amounts of coffee, of course.
Plan a vacation
I’ve found that if you have something fun and exciting to look forward to, it’s hard to stay in a bad mood for too long. Stuck inside on a cold winter day? It’s the perfect time to plan a vacation! Whether it’s reserving a site for your family’s annual camping trip in the Adirondacks, researching ideas for local day or weekend trips, or planning a getaway to a tropical destination, turn that daydream into a reality. Get it on the calendar, and let the countdown begin! I don’t know about you, but I’m already in a better mood just thinking about it.
Soak up the Sun
Lack of sunlight is one of the main reasons you might feel the winter blues, so one of the best ways to combat them is to get more sun. I know that’s easier said than done in the winter, especially in Syracuse. If you’re like me, when the sun does finally make an appearance, you end up closing the curtains so you don’t get blinded by the glare off the snow. The best thing you can do is to dig out those sunglasses, bundle up, and get outside for a walk to soak up some sun. Don’t forget the sunscreen! If time outside is not an option, or it’s just too darn cold, even just sitting by a window in the sun will do the trick.
In case you haven’t guessed by now, winter sports are not my thing. For one, I hate being cold. Second, most winter sports require a fair amount of grace and coordination, which I do not have. Sliding out of control down an icy hill? No thanks. But one of the most important things you can do to help keep your spirits up during the winter months is to get some exercise. Personally, I’m a big fan of yoga in the winter. There are a bunch of really great yoga workouts on YouTube, and you can do them just about anywhere. It feels amazing to stretch, breathe, and relax, assuming you can get 20 minutes of uninterrupted quiet time. Or even better, get the kids involved and throw a dance party whenever you could all use a boost. Whatever your thing is, it’s important to make being active a priority, especially this time of year.
Diffuse Essential Oils
I’m new to the essential oil thing, but I had been interested in trying them for awhile after hearing stories of friends and family using them with great results. I was given an oil diffuser for Christmas and shortly after bought a few different oils and blends to try. I particularly like one called Elevation. It’s a blend of a few different oils that smell amazing together, and when diffused into the air naturally creates a happy feeling. Is it all in my head? Maybe. But it seems to work, and that’s good enough for me.
Unleash your creative side and make something! It doesn’t have to be a big project, it could be something as simple as coloring a picture with your kids, or preparing a favorite meal. Or take it a step further and try something totally new. Don’t take it too seriously, and have some fun, then sit back and admire whatever you just created. Even if it’s awful and ends up in the trash, just letting the creative juices flow can be extremely therapeutic.
What are some of the things that keep you going during the long CNY winter months?
*The winter blues are sometimes confused with a type of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. These are not the same thing. While the winter blues cause a feeling of gloominess, SAD can be debilitating, affecting relationships and work, and making it hard to enjoy life. If you are having symptoms of SAD, it’s important to get help.