Self-Care for the Winter Blues

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For many, the winter can be a time of feeling a little down, while perhaps dealing with a lack of energy and motivation.  We've put together a list of self-care activities to help beat the winder doldrums.  Of course, if you're dealing with something more severe like seasonal affective disorder (SAD), be sure to check in with your doctor.

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Head Outside

While all you might want to do is hibernate all winter long, getting outside can actually be quite helpful for your mood.  Soaking up as much sunlight as possible during the shorter days can help you to feel more energized, and is also important to help sync your body's clock so you have an easier time falling asleep and waking in the morning. If you're unable to get outside, be sure to open your blinds on sunny days to get as much natural light as possible.

Consider Taking a Vitamin D Supplement

If you're not able to get enough light, you may need to supplement with Vitamin D.  Check with your doctor to get your levels checked and, if it's decided you need a supplement, be sure to make taking your Vitamin D a part of your daily self-care plan routine. If you're not yet at a level where supplementation is necessary, you can incorporate vitamin D into your diet by including fortified juices and milks, egg yolks, fatty fishes, and mushrooms grown under ultraviolet light.

Incorporate Exercise

Though it's likely the last thing you feel like doing when you're low on energy and feeling kind of uninspired, exercise helps to naturally boost your mood and energy levels.  To help you fit it in, we recommend you opt for something new you've always wanted to try, or opt for something fun like a dance class or trampoline fitness class. A yoga workout like Yoga with Adriene's Yoga for the Winter Blues is excellent, too.

Turn on a Positive Playlist

Sometimes there's nothing quite like some uplifting tunes to help brighten your spirit.  We suggest putting together a playlist of your top positive or make-you-wanna-dance tunes for when you need a boost, or check out playlists like Happy Hits or Mood Booster on Spotify.

Use Light Therapy

light therapy box mimics natural light, meaning that it can be helpful in improving mood and sleep when used regularly and as directed.  Be sure to check with your doctor to help determine a schedule that would work best for you.  If things are a little less intense, you might consider using a sunrise-mimicking alarm clock.  By exposing yourself to light earlier in the day, it will help you to wake up easier and sets your internal clock, which can make sleeping at night easier, too.

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Create a Daily Routine

Because winter can be so dark and dull for most of the day, it can be really difficult to ensure that your body recognizes when it is day and when it is night.  Creating a daily routine can help to instill habits that can help your body get back on schedule and make it easier to sleep at night.  A helpful morning routine might include yoga or exercise, a nourishing breakfast, journaling, or meditation, whereas an evening routine might include a relaxing bath, reading, or listening to calming music.

Use Mood-Boosting Aromatherapy

Like music, smell can have a significant impact on mood.  Citrus scents like grapefruit, orange, and bergamot are excellent for helping to brighten your mood. If you're having trouble focusing, peppermint, cinnamon, and rosemary are good choices.  You might choose to diffuse these oils, use a bath or body product with these scents, or opt for a perfume that energizes you.

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Practice Hygge

Hygge, the Danish art of being cozy, is a way to help you embrace winter, rather than just longing for summer to return. Cozying up in knits and blankets, turning on the fireplace, enjoying comfort food, or sipping a warm drink are all ways to practice hygge.

Create Connection

Connecting with others is a huge part of what makes us human, so it makes sense that being social can help to ward off the winter blues.  This doesn't have to be a draining activity, either - it might just include watching Netflix with a friend or calling a family member to check in.  If you're able, volunteering can be great because you get the feel-good vibes of giving back, while also creating a connection.  Try volunteering for a cause that is important for you, or look into volunteering at a local animal shelter (because connecting with furry friends counts, too!).  If getting out is tough, you can even look into virtual volunteer positions.

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Bring Nature Indoors

Bringing some plants or flowers into your home not only helps to give your room a boost of colour, but it can also be great for your mood. Research has shown that having plants in your home can help to improve productivity and reduce stress.  Plus, the simple act of caring for something and watching is grow is great for your mood, too.