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Monday, December 31, 2018

8 Ways to Help Beat the Winter Blues and Stay Positive

Photo by Brandon Atkinson (Flickr)

Every winter, I suffer from a phenomenon called the winter blues. Shorter daylight hours and cold weather definitely contribute to my irritable, tired, and blah mood. My social life suffers, too. Even my kids feel the effects of the winter weather. This year, we want to stay positive and beat the winter blues, and we're trying these eight ways to do it.

Let the Sunshine In

A good source of vitamin D, sunlight also boosts our mood and energy. For this reason, we want to get as much sun exposure as possible. I plan to trim the trees and bushes near our windows, open the blinds and curtains, and sit closer to the window at work. If these tricks don't work, I'll buy a sun lamp, a beneficial tool used by people who suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Exercise Every Day

Exercise releases endorphins, the feel-good hormones. We also feel energized, focused, creative, productive, and calm when we work out regularly. To get more exercise and improve our moods during cold winter weather, we can take power walks around the mall, go ice skating, and schedule winter hikes.

Play More

When we listen to our kids play, we hear laughter and joy. I love that sound! We can join in the fun and feel less stressed and more upbeat as we play. Let's gather our kids and build a pillow fort, create art, or enjoy a snowball battle together.

Learn Something New

Sometimes, our brains get stuck in a down mood and stay there for days on end. Learning new things or trying new activities reboots our brains and gets them unstuck. We can try new cooking techniques and recipes, discover new book and music genres, and play new card and board games this winter.

Eat a Mood-Boosting Diet

Certain foods actually improve our mood. For example, my girls and I discovered that tomatoes, honey, coconut, and even dark chocolate help us feel happier, so we'll add more of these mood-boosting foods to our winter menu.

Make Plans With Positive People

Although I often don't feel like socializing when the winter blues strike, I benefit from social interactions with positive, upbeat friends. I also know that I'm more likely to show up for events instead of hibernating if I'm hanging out with people I like. To prioritize beneficial play dates, we can join a book club, go bowling, or indulge in some retail therapy with positive, fun, and engaging friends.

Wear Bright Colors

Bright colors help us feel happy, cheerful, and positive. I know I smile more when I wear bright yellows, pinks, purples, and reds. My girls even asked for colorful and bright hats and gloves this year so they can remember to smile as they go to school and do other activities.

Be Grateful for the Season

While we may dream of living on a tropical island year-round, we have to accept that our reality includes cold and dark winter weather. Complaining only makes us feel more miserable. Instead, let's embrace gratitude and look for things to be thankful for, like pretty icicles on tree limbs, cute snowmen, fuzzy socks, and delicious hot cocoa.

Staying positive when winter weather hits can be tough. I know my girls and I struggle with our attitudes every year. This year, we plan to keep the winter blues at bay in these eight ways. What else could we try to remain more upbeat during this cold, dark season?

Find more about the author: Kim Hart

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