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How to Fight the Winter Blues

How to Fight the Winter Blues

Have you ever felt the winter blues? Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) causes feelings of fatigue, depression, and hopelessness during the same time each year, most commonly when there is less sunlight. Intentionally creating a self-care routine that prioritizes physical health and friendship will keep you feeling your best all the way into the spring.  


two hands building a snowman and putting in the carrot nose

Go Outside 

Even though the weather might be freezing in your area, it will be worth it to get some fresh air and sunshine. Bundle up and go for a walk around your neighborhood—if the sidewalks are ice-free, of course. (You wouldn’t want to walk outside if you’re falling on the ice every couple of minutes!) At the very least, if it’s too cold for a walk, stand outside for a couple minutes and open your curtains to let the sunshine in.  


Eat Healthy and Drink Lots of Water  

Now is the best time to stay on track with your New Year’s resolutions to eat healthy and exercise. Filling your plate with a variety of fruits, vegetables, and protein will support your immune system and overall health. You can still order the occasional greasy takeout or treat yourself to an ice cream cone, but eating out every day isn’t good for your body—or your wallet. Try to cook more homemade meals, be mindful about the ingredients in your food, and move your body every day. Taking care of yourself will help ensure that your immune system can stay strong throughout flu season.   


Get Lots of Sleep 

Never underestimate the power of a good night’s rest. It’s important to get 8–10 hours each night so that your body can feel rejuvenated and prepare for the next day. While it can be difficult to prioritize sleep when you may be preoccupied with work, school, and kids, your body will greatly benefit if you can adjust your schedule to do so. To improve your quality of sleep, it may help to invest in a sound machine, ear plugs, eye mask, or a meditation app. Getting enough sleep will help fight the winter blues so that you can go about each day feeling your best self.  


Don't Neglect Relationships 

Check in on your friends and familyIt’s possible that a loved one of yours is struggling with the winter blues as well, but you can still support them throughout your struggles, too. Call your parents, have a FaceTime date with a friend, and send a surprise “I’m Thinking of You” card to an extended family member. Making an effort in our relationships shows them that we value them and appreciate having them in our lives. Seasonal depression is difficult, but it is much more bearable when you have the encouragement from your friends and family.  

Three people running on a bridge


While cold weather can make it a little difficult to get outside and moving, there are still ways to exercise your body in the winter.  

  • Find a Winter Hobby 

Just because it’s in the single digits outside doesn't mean you can’t enjoy the outdoors. If it snows in your area, take advantage of the winter sports that can keep you active and out enjoying nature. Are you an expert skier or snowboarder? Try snowshoeing, winter hiking, or even just bundle up and go on a walk around the neighborhood.  

  • Do At-Home Workouts 

There’s no need to venture into a blizzard to get to the gym when you can work out in the comfort of your own home. If you have enough space to roll out a yoga mat and you have access to a laptop, you can meet your fitness goals from your living room floor. You can find plenty of workout videos (HIIT, yoga, Pilates) for free on YouTube and tailor the workout to what best suits your preferences 

  • Make Movement Part of Your Routine 

Not everybody has a spare hour every day to commit to a workout. But you can still move your body a little bit each day to stay limber and healthy. On your lunch break, run up and down the stairs or take a walk around the block. When watching TV after work, try doing some sit-ups or chair dips during a commercial breakOr you can stretch for at least five minutes every morning and night to release tension and avoid tight muscles.  


Find a New Hobby 

Snowed in? Negative temperatures outside? There’s no better time than the winter to try out a new indoor hobby. Spending at least 15 minutes per day learning something new will distract you from the irritation and sadness that often accompanies seasonal depression. Taking the time to relax or develop a new skill will be beneficial for your mental health and will give you something to look forward to each day. 

Some ideas include:  

  • Paint by numbers 
  • Crochet 
  • Cooking 
  • Online class 
  • Yoga 
  • Puzzles 
  • Learning a new language 
  • Reading 
  • Journaling 
  • Learning a musical instrument 

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