Helpful Tools to Beat the Winter Blues

Spring hasn’t quite arrived yet, there’s still snow on the ground and I’m not the only one who is beginning to feel cooped up inside. Many of us experience “the winter blues” in various forms, some worse than others. For myself I’ve found that putting extra effort in taking care of my health, sticking to a routine and spending time in community helps me get past the winter blues and keep my spirits up.

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Health

With the winter months calling us to stay in bed and not leave our warm homes, I’ve found sticking to my routine especially in the morning and evening a big help. The average adult makes 35 000 conscious decisions each day, according to multiple sources on the Internet so with  regular routines and healthy habits we can sustain our energy longer.

I’ve found consuming warm foods and beverages like soups and teas to be a great way to warm the body from the inside out. But in anticipation for spring, I’ve been sneaking in a few cold salads and entrees into my week because it acts as a pick-me-up and reminder that the warmer days will arrive soon! Even refreshing smoothies and greek yogurt with fresh fruit is an energizing & light snack. Ensure you’re fuelling your body well with whole foods and getting in all your vitamins to further support the body. This is a helpful article to reference here!

Routine

Get in the habit of practicing meditation if you may be, “feeling in your head” or “stuck in a rut.” Specifically a gratitude meditation is said to help ease symptoms of overwhelm and stress, not to mention, recognising what we have to be grateful for (big or small) is a good feeling that allows for a little peace and lifts my spirit.

Simply find a comfortable position seated or on your back. Tune into your physical body, relaxing from head to toe. Then deepen your breathe, following each inhale and exhale. When ready think of 5 things you are grateful for. Your morning cup of coffee can count or the short walk around the block with your dog. Observe what warm feelings arise within you. Keep focused on those feelings for 10-15 breathes.

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Community

Generally yoga studios, community centres, restaurants and similar venues have lots of workshops and events happening inside their spaces during the winter season to invite people in to connect. Specifically I’ve been doing In Fine Feather Yoga’s March 30 Day Challenge because it’s a perfect opportunity to get out of the house, connect with like-minded people and feel like I’ve have conquered a productive day. Getting a sweat on daily will allow for the stagnant energy to shake off, plus it’s good for you! Yoga for winter blues is my go-to form of movement when it comes to heating the body from the cool temps outside. I’m looking forward to pressing play on the weekly home practice videos too! If there’s something similar being hosted near you, I highly recommend joining!

If you look there is usually lots of opportunities to connect with others year-round. My sister and I checked out the newly renovated Gage Park Tropical Greenhouse in Hamilton. It is fully accessible featuring “a collection of subtropical plants, unique species and palm trees. The greenhouse is designed as a community gathering place, providing opportunities to use the greenhouse as an educational center…” It can be as simple as asking a friend for coffee, checking out a new store or going for a walk. I always feel better after going for a walk even if it’s a quick 15 minutes around my block. Grab an extra layer, listen to a podcast, take your dog, and enjoy!

One Last Suggestion

My last & favourite suggestion to beating the winter blues is watching funny movies/shows or reading comedic books. Laughing is said to be the best medicine, corny or not! Netflix has a few comedy specials that are sure to make you laugh.

PS: It’s important you don’t ignore the symptoms of winter blues especially if you find yourself suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) aka winter depression. The article here is a great resource to learn more.