I cannot believe it’s almost Christmas! I don’t know about you, but I’m super excited. There is just so much joy and time to get together with family around Christmastime but with that, comes the cold weather, cloudy skies, and sometimes, the “Winter Blues.” The technical term for that is Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD (fitting, right?), and I’ve struggled with it for 3 years. But this year is different. After really finding myself this year and working on myself a lot during 2017, I now know how to beat the Winter Blues; I’m not going to let it get me down this year. So, with that being said, here are my tips on how to stay happy during the cold, winter months.
- Get Out!
No, not the Jordan Peele movie, but go outside! I understand it’s cold but getting outside for a walk will do wonders for your body and mind. People avoid being outside during the winter, including me, but if you just walk a little more outside, take the dog with you to get the mail, or, if you’re adventurous, go for a jog, you’ll feel a difference physically and mentally. Not only will the fresh air help you feel better, but getting Vitamin D from the sun will be sooo good. Trust me, I’ve been Vitamin D deficient and it sucks! From feeling depressed, to feeling sluggish all the time; it just doesn’t do you any good. So go outdoors when you can, maybe even park a little farther away from the store so you have to walk longer! Every little bit helps.
- Get Moving!
I touched on this a bit in the last point but exercise will honestly change your life! I dread it sometimes but I always feel so great when I’m done. When you exercise your body releases endorphins, and they make you feel great! Yoga is one of my favorite ways to release endorphins, and anyone can do it! I love going to the local yoga studio just as much as I like home practices like Yoga with Adriene. She makes it easy and fun for everyone, whether you’re a newbie or seasoned professional. But seriously, working out, whatever way you do it, will help you stay fit during the holidays (re: Christmas Cookies!) and also clear your mind to stay on track with all of your New Year’s resolutions.
- Get Writing!
Journaling and gratitude lists are a game-changer. Putting your thoughts into words into a physical notebook or even on your phone or laptop will help you come into a state of mindfulness and self-awareness. I could definitely write a whole blog post about this, but for now, I’ll keep it short. Writing and keeping a list of things you’re grateful for all year long and especially during the holiday season makes you realize the emotions you’re feeling and helps you understand yourself better. Also, instead of keeping emotions and feelings bottled in, writing lets you express them (and yourself) in a way that is still private to you — you don’t have to show anyone what you write!
- Being Mindful!
Now, being mindful doesn’t mean you have to be a hippie or a yogi who meditates all the time or anything. Being mindful is something you can practice during any time of the day. Mindfulness can go hand in hand with gratefulness. They’re both all about taking your time, taking a step back, and being humble for the moment. Many bloggers talk about mindful eating when trying to lose weight — like, only eating when you’re hungry, stopping when you’re full, and enjoying every single bite — which is a really fantastic strategy, but keep in mind, you can be mindful while doing anything! For example, when walking down the street, take in the noises, the smells, look at the leaves on the trees, and be grateful that you can enjoy even the smallest of things.
- Take your Vitamins!
Mom was right. You really should take your vitamins, as well as any medication you might have to take. This is so important for people to stay healthy, especially if you’re like me and live in the midwest during winter (like I said: cloudy = no vitamin D)! But regardless, eating healthy and taking vitamins will make sure that your mind and body stays healthy throughout the winter months.
- Taking Time for Yourself!
I just want to touch on this last tip, and my favorite one, too: taking some much-needed “Me Time.” Christmas can be a hectic time! Its important to take time for yourself by doing something you want to do. Read a book, take a bath, listen to your favorite album, go shopping, or even just take a nap. If you just spend a few minutes doing something that you love a day, your sanity will thank you for it!
I hope this little list helps you through this winter, SAD, and even when you need a reminder throughout the year! And of course, please feel free to reach out to me!