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How To Beat The Winter Blues

Updated on March 14, 2013

Inexpensive Ways to Beat the Winter Blues

I think brown bears have the right idea. They fatten up in the fall, find a nice cave, and snuggle up for a VERY long nap. They even give birth in the winter while they are sleeping and sleep through the first few months of nursing. I can't tell you how wonderful that sounds to me!

If you are reading this you are probably not a bear, so you have to deal with the dark days of winter and the sadness that often comes with it.

Do you need to know how to beat the winter blues? Unless you can afford the time and money to head somewhere tropical for the next few months, read on and I'll tell you what you can do to help yourself feel better.

Image Credit: wit ~ cc by 2.0

Beat Winter Blues With Exercise
Beat Winter Blues With Exercise

1 - Exercise, of course!

You pretty much knew that was coming, didn't you? There are a lot of sports that are great for winter, but they aren't for everyone. If skiing, snowshoeing, or even walking outside in the winter is not appealing, there are cheap and easy indoor exercises that you can do.

It has been proven that regular exercise elevates your mood. It also helps keep away those winter pounds that can creep on sometimes. So, if you aren't already exercising daily, you need to start.

If you have exercise equipment in your home like a treadmill, exercise bike, or mini trampoline, go ahead and start using it. Exercising about 30 minutes most days of the week, for a total of 150 minutes a week, is the bare minimum of aerobic exercise that is recommended by the CDC. The CDC also recommends strength training 2 or more days a week.

For those of you without exercise equipment you can still get this much exercise easily and cheaply without freezing your toes and nose off. I recommend watching an indoor walking video like the one you see below. It is a perfect way to get some cardio in without leaving the house. It is easy to do with kids, a spouse, or parent, also.

If you do the 2 mile video every day you should get the minimum amount of exercise you need and you will feel so much better! There is also a 1 mile video. You can do that once in the morning and once at night if you would like to spread the exercise out.

There are many other great exercise videos on YouTube that you can use for free. If you would rather, you can go to your local library and borrow exercise videos.

Exercise is really the number 1 thing you can do to lift your mood. Try it!

Image Credit: Image courtesy of Ambro /

Make Time For Yourself
Make Time For Yourself

2 - Make Time For Yourself

If you have someone else in your life that depends on you, especially if you are a parent and/or the primary breadwinner, it can be hard to take time for yourself. Winter is probably the worst time to ignore your own needs. You need to schedule time for yourself doing something just for you.

Some things you can do:

Take a bubble bath

Read a book (no Russian classics!)

Color fairies

Watch a funny movie

Do a puzzle or sudoku

Knit or crochet

Watch a TV program

Go visit a friend

The hardest part about taking time for yourself is you can feel like you are taking it away from someone else. If you have a partner, ask for their support, and offer yours when they need it. It can be really hard to do when you are a single parent or you take care of a parent in your home by yourself. If you are single, ask for help from others so you can have regular time to yourself. Asking for help will be hard, but it is worth it!

Image Credit: Mattes [Public domain]

Funny Movies to Rent or Buy - Check out this variety of movies.

Watching funny movies is a great way to beat the winter blues. Laughter helps your overall attitude and makes you feel great! Give it a try.

Stay Warm With Mint Tea
Stay Warm With Mint Tea

3 - Stay Warm

This might sound strange, but I think being cold is one of the things that can cause the most misery during winter. Dress warmly in layers when you go out. Wear waterproof boots to keep your feet dry. Wear a hat and scarf so that your head stays warm and dry.

At home, snuggle up under a blanket, and drink some tea, cocoa, or broth. Put an extra blanket on your bed at night. You can always kick it off if it gets too hot. Oh, don't forget the fuzzy slippers.

Being warm, dry, and comfortable will help your mood a lot!

Image Credit: [Public Domain]

Fuzzy and Cute Slippers - Keep your feet warm and cozy with new slippers

Slippers really help keep your whole body warm and toasty. It really helps keep you happy on chilly winter nights. Check out these fun slippers.

Beat Winter Blues With Plenty Of Sleep
Beat Winter Blues With Plenty Of Sleep

4 - Get Enough Sleep

In the winter, especially when it is so dark (or you've been reading a lot about bears), it is tempted to sleep too much. While sleeping all the time won't work for most humans, you need to make sure you get enough sleep. It is easy to shortchange yourself. Having a regular schedule is also a good way to keep your spirits up.

Set a bedtime and stick to it. Set your alarm every day, even on weekends (just a little later maybe). Keeping a schedule will also help you not to be late. Running late is one of the fastest ways to up your stress level, particularly if you live in an area with bad weather. Give yourself enough time to wake up, eat, shower and get ready, and drive safely to your destination even in bad weather conditions.

Image Credit: Neeta Lind (CC by 2.0)

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5 - Eat Well

You need to eat regular, nutritious meals. Filling up on junk food is not good any time of the year, but in winter when your activity level may be lower than normal can cause weight gain. So depressing! Doing step 1, exercise, will help with that, but it is important to eat well also.

Besides keeping the pounds from creeping up, a proper diet will help you feel better. Be sure to eat lots of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and lean meat (if you like it). The more variety in your diet, the better chance you have of being healthy.

If you have a family, have a family dinnertime. This is an opportunity to connect with your family, eat a good meal, and be social. Enjoy them!

Image Credit: USDA [Public domain]

Is it more than the Winter blues?

The Winter blues are generally mild. If you practice the self care tips describe in this page you should find relief. If you have a more serious form of depression, known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

If you feel you have more than the blues, or you can't shake your depression even by doing the self care tips above you may need help for SAD. You should speak to your doctor about what you can do to help your seasonal depression.

Possible treatments for SAD are light therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, and medication. You deserve to feel better, so talk to your doctor!

Visit my website on SAD Disorder for more information.

SAD Disorder - Information and Help
Do you need help with SAD Disorder? Read here for more information on SAD Disorder, how to recognize it, and manage it. If you suffer from SAD, or seasonal ...

Do you have any other ideas on how to beat the Winter blues?


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    • Titia profile image

      Titia Geertman 4 years ago from Waterlandkerkje - The Netherlands

      I don't suffer from winter blues, I like each season of the year. But let's see: exercise is a no no due to my bad hip. Time for myself: I've always time for myself, but I don't like bubble baths. Get enough sleep: how could I being a squidaholic. Eat well: too well I'm afraid. Great advice, blessed.

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      On the few sunny days, we have, I go outside. I try to take my outer jacket off getting some sun on as much skin (like wrists and ankles) as possible without freezing. Great advice.

    • profile image

      CatJGB 4 years ago

      Get outside if you can for a bit of fresh air, sunshine if it's around, and take some Vitamin D. And yeah, stay away from junk food, that just makes you feel lousy and gulity.

    • profile image

      marceladevivo 4 years ago

      I find that yoga and/or a massage does wonders for me!

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 4 years ago

      Escape the world by watching a good movie.