5 Tips to Beat the Winter Blues 2023
The winter season is upon us. Frigid temperatures, fewer hours of daylight, and viral illnesses can all contribute to increased isolation, and for many, increased stress and seasonal depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Here are 5 tips to beat the winter blues in 2023.
1. Connect with friends and family
Over the last couple of years, many individuals have found themselves increasingly separated from others, as pandemic-related shutdowns and social distancing measures have led some to slowly adopt a more isolated way of living. Cold winter temperatures, which sometimes deter individuals from leaving their homes, further exacerbate this problem. Humans are social beings. Consistent isolation can lead to feelings of depression. To help alleviate the winter blues brought on by social isolation, make a point of connecting with friends and family. Try attending social events or simply making a phone call to someone you haven’t talked to in a while.
2. Get some exercise
It may not be the ideal outdoors weather for most of us, but getting outside and moving around can help with the winter blues. Staying active and getting exercise is beneficial for not only one’s physical health but also one’s mental health. If some of this exercise can be done outside during daylight hours, that’s even better, as natural sunlight exposure can help to lift your mood during the winter months.
3. Maintain adequate sleep
Getting sufficient sleep is a critical component of wellness and beating the winter blues. To help ensure that you get a proper night’s rest, try to maintain a consistent sleep schedule throughout the week. I also recommend trying to limit screen time in the hours before bed. At night, try to find a bedtime routine that works for you, and then stick with it. Importantly, sleep in a dark and quiet room.
4. Plan something fun to help with the winter blues
In the middle of winter, the days can sometimes seem to almost blend into one another. To keep things interesting, make a habit of planning at least one fun activity each day, whether that’s watching your favorite show, reading a good book, listening to some music, or eating at your favorite restaurant. The winter months can also be a great time to plan a vacation (or even a staycation) to help keep things fresh and exciting.
5. Talk to your doctor about your winter blues
Some individuals may experience recurrent depressive symptoms in the fall or winter months that tend to resolve in the spring and summer, as some forms of depression follow a seasonal pattern. Fortunately, there are a number of treatments available for this, including psychotherapy, medication-based treatment, and/or light therapy. If you are concerned about your symptoms, talk to your doctor about whether one of these treatments might be appropriate for you.
For more information and tips on beating the winter blues, check out the following CFR articles.
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