How to Beat Winter Blues
Beating the Blues in the Dead of Winter
By the time the hooplah of the holidays wears off, and we get settled into our new year routine, we sometimes find ourselves in a bit of a winter rut. These down moods are a bit easier to handle in warmer weather, but months of cold can take its toll, leaving many to suffer from a real condition known as seasonal affective disorder, or "S.A.D." for short.
The only way to know for sure if you are suffering from "SAD" is to see a mental health professional. If you feel depressed for most of the day for more than a week or two, and there are no other underlying reasons, such as a death in the family, then I strongly recommend seeing a mental health professional or your own doctor. If you have any thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself or someone else, get to an emergency room immediately.
On the other hand, if you're just a little down and out and getting "sick" of being shut in for the winter, here are some ideas to cope with those sinking feelings, and to perhaps cheer up those winter blahs.
If you're wondering why I used a "Spring" theme for a "Winter" lens, then this is your first tip! The first thing to remember when feeling blue in winter is this: Spring is just around the corner!
Photo credit: "Flower with snow hat" by Michael Law
Fancy a Game of Chess?
Do you know how to Play?
Learning something new can really get your mind occupied and thinking about something besides being depressed. Chess is really challenging and can be fun to learn! If you can't find a partner, play against yourself! (Or in this case.... a plastic toy)
Of course, if Chess is not your game, there are a multitude of other choices! Find what you like!
Photo "Glass Chess Toy Play" by Derek Quantrell
Catch up on Oscar Noms - Have you Seen them All?
It's nearly impossible to get to see every movie nominated for an Academy Award before the Academy Awards. Even those who vote often admit they have not seen everything.
So, make a challenge to yourself to see as many as possible. Since the Oscars are always in late winter, you'll have plenty of time to do your research! Maybe these vids can help!
One other way to catch the top movies early is to pay attention to the earlier awards shows - such as the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild awards - these take place several weeks before the Oscars and you'll find many crossover nominees - a little Oscar "preview" if you will.
Chess Anyone? - These will get you started.
Whether you want to learn the complicated strategies or just the basics, I've got you covered! My son loves to play, but he's very competitive. I just know the basics, so he beats me most of the time. Chess is one of the few games that I enjoy playing even if I lose.
These folding ones are nice and tidy. I can't tell you how many of pieces we have lost with the carboard ones. These are much more durable!
Create a New Recipe
And Treat Yourself to some Yumness!
Food is good for the soul - that's just a given! Creating your own new recipe is even better. Even if you're not much of a cook, anybody can throw together a few ingredients for a soup or casserole. Give yourself permission to do something crazy if you want! Why not? If you don't like it, you don't have to eat it. You're allowed. I promise!
Photo credit: "Harvest And Preserves" by Kim Newberg
Curl up with a Good Book! - Great Way to Escape for an Afternoon!
I hear this a lot: "I don't have time to read". But if you have "time" to be depressed, you have a few minutes to delve into a good read! For ideas, I enjoy the community at Goodreads.com
Here's What's Hot in Amazon fiction right now - Have you read any of these?
Check out reader reviews and get involved in the Amazon community too - that's a great way to connect with other readers who enjoy the same genre as you!
Make a Scrapbook
As Complicated or as Simple as you Wish
You can throw together a quick and easy collection of photos and mementos from a single event in a couple of hours, or you can take your time and put together an intricate collage on every page, making it a project for the whole winter season!
I used to scrapbook a lot when my son was little. I find the scrapbooking community to be very creative and helpful. You can find a group near you to get together to crop with - another way to beat the blues!
Scrapbooking makes me feel "snug as a bug in a rug!"
Photo "Bug Clip Art" by K Whiteford
" In winter here no heart could mourn for summer or for spring. No blemish or sickness or deformity could be seen in anything that grew upon the earth. On the land of Lorien there was no stain."
Walk it Off
Bundle up and Find a Ray of Sunshine!
Sometimes we might need to brave the cold and just get out there. Being outside in the open space, feeling fresh cold air is a mood booster believe it or not, as long as you keep it short, and as long as it is not too cold!
If you can find an ounce of sunlight anywhere, soak it up! We need that little bit of sun for at least a few minutes a day, three to four days a week, in order to get our vitamin D. Remember it's all relative. I know we always say "stay out of the sun" but a little goes a long way, and the sun is a powerful drug! I dare you not to feel better after a brisk walk and a dose of sunlight!
If you absolutely cannot get outside, find a mall or other large open space, preferably with a lot of light and start walkin'! The exercise will be good for you both body wise and for your mood!
Photo: "Snow And Sunlight 2" by Mike Coates
Whether or Not You Have the Blues - Depends on Your Perspective!
Try a little bit of music to delve into your deep blue feelings. It's really strange, but listening to "The Blues" can elevate your mood. Don't ask me why. It's one of the great mysteries of music - the universal language. Trust me. I know this!
Humor Works Too!
"Go to heaven for the climate and hell for the company."
Find your Peer Group
And meet them - online or in person
There is surely something about you that is unique to most. However, it is highly likely you can find others who share this mysterious passion of yours! If you can't hook up locally, try an online forum or group. I promise you.... someone shares your views... and most importantly, you need to know you are not alone!
Photo:"Three Penquins" by Petr Kratochvil
Get a Puppy! - Best Therapy Ever!
Or a kitten, or rescue a pet from a shelter... you get the idea! A loving companion does not always come in the form of human! Even if you think you're not a "dog person"..... take a trip to a local shelter and visit the animals there. Chances are you'll fall in love!
Photo: "Mini French Poodle Puppy" by Lucy Toner
Find a Different Perspective!
Like this one!
I love the way the appearance of everyday things changes when it snows, or rains, or ices over. Take a look around outside and appreciate simple beauty! If you're really feeling daring, snap a few pictures! You never know! You might be the next Ansel Adams!
I have a photographer friend Tony Laidig who can help you get started!
Photo:"Snowing in the Street" by Bev Lloyd-Roberts.
Which One of These Tips is your Favorite? - And Tell us Why if you Wish!
One thing does not work for every person, that's why I have several things listed on this page!
If you have found something that works best for you, please let us know!
Which One of these Tips Helps You Conquer the Winter Blues?
If You Need More Help - Here are Some Resources
- Treatment Options for Depression
- Suicide Help: Dealing with Suicidal Thoughts & Feelings
Are you feeling suicidal? No matter how hopeless you feel, you can feel better. There is help available.
- Depression FAQ's
Question and answer guide that explains depression and how it can be treated successfully.
- Psychology Information Online - Help for Depression
Self Help for Depression
- UHS Tang Center
University of California, Berkeley
All comments encouraged and welcome!