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What is your best tip of dealing with "winter blues"? :)

How do you keep your mood and energy high during a long, grey winter?

I know vitamin D supplement and a lot of movement/exercises are the key - and perhaps also accepting that this is "quiter" period in terms of energy :)))))

What other tips would you add to dealing with "winter blues" ideas and strategies?

Yes movement! I remember we talked about it when you shared about your wellbeing goals, those tips could be applied here. I think also making comfort food and having friends over (well maybe now it's tricky, start a passion project!
Great ideas :) friends over I never think of as solution for that wintery mood and actually its spot on…
Right!! The other thing (hot take) is sex (done safely of course)
I didn't see that one coming but I applaud the idea hihihi
HAHAH! :-D
1. Watching comedies (stand up or rom-coms) that are light hearted always help me. 2. Make sure you're space has cozy vibes, lighting candles, heated blanket, a good book and cup of tea.3. Call friends when you're feeling down! Friends are great and they like to hear from you4. Experimenting with new cooking/baking challenges. Trying new and scary things can be fun and keep you occupied in the best way. Plus, yummy food. What's not to love?
I like the idea of watching rom-coms! That's great!
romcoms aren't my thing, but Friends and Ted Lasso are great for this too!
1. Candles. I like light scents. Plus there is something so meditative about watching a flickering flame.2. I put small LED light strings into jars. They look really pretty at night in a dark room. 3. I add bright accessories (eg pink scarf) or sparkly jewelry into my daily wardrobe.
1) Listening to music! This can be pretty wide-ranging, but sometimes I love piano music that makes me feel calm, sometimes energetic music, sometimes low-key vibing-out music — all of which makes me feel happy and at ease while being at home.2) Taking care of my plants! They're particularly finnicky during the winter so whenever they're flourishing more than the usual winter season, I get very excited for them (I know I'm ~ that ~ kind of plant parent) and sometimes get super cheery talking to them haha!
What do you talking to your plants about ? :)
Warm tea, blanket, and books.
Does anyone have a SAD lamp?
Yep! Mine was recommended by my psychiatrist. The brand is Nature Bright and they have some reasonably priced options ~$40 USD. She also recommended starting to use it before you need it - e.g. starting in the fall. It's hard to say how much it's helping but it's not hurting. I sit with it for a while in the morning while I have coffee@angelique mentioned Verilux as well
I have Verilux! I rarely use it. I like it though.
Bright or full spectrum lights certainly won't hurt, but aren't nearly as impactful as just getting outside. Even if it's cloudy, you're still getting a lot of the benefits of sun exposure. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8731073/
For my grandma, I bought the first choice recommended by the New York Times review below:https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/reviews/best-light-therapy-lamp/I'm rooting for you!
I love all of these offers of advice. I also use a full spectrum light in the morning for at least 30 min to help with vitamin D production. I find it is really helpful for me to get outside for a walk every day that’s it’s possible, even if it’s freaking freezing or nasty outside. The shift in perspective and fresh air makes my space feel less confining. And then, I think the most important part for me is daily mindful movement. I’ve been on a real barre3 kick lately - I love the vibe of their teachers and movements, and I can do it in my room without having to risk the gym (Re: COVID). It’s a super low barrier to getting endorphins each morning. Yoga is also great- would recommend Yoga with Kassandra - she has many 10-15 min videos that can help unblock stagnated energy at any time of the day. You don’t need a lot of “fire” energy to do this, in fact some of the flows are perfect for bedtime (or bedtime energy throughout the day)!One more idea that I like to do is cook a meal (chopping vegetables feels meditative to me!) while listening to a podcast (Brene brown’s shows, we can do hard things with Glennon Doyle, Ologies, and the Atlantic’s How to Live a Happier Life (I think that’s the name?)- some examples) kinda give me the feeling like I’m hosting a dinner party without actually needing to socialize ^-^
+1 to the walk outside. I bundle up and head out. Whatever the temperature outside. Especially when it's sunny (which means even lower temperatures!)
I bought a Verilux Happy Light Luxe last winter and think it's definitely helped with keeping my mood stable during the winter -- it's not a switch to happiness, but rather a way to keep me from truly slumping in the winter (also, bonus, it's natural light makes me look nicer on Zoom, too!).Other than that, I definitely indulge in comfort -- blankets, cups of tea and a nice book or a chat with a friend -- and also have invested in some nicer cold weather gear so I'm still able to comfortably get outdoors and get some real sunshine and fresh air.
THis looks awesome! I'm gonna try it out
I love all the seasons as each brings with it it's own grace and beauty and ways my body adapts to it...I absolutely love the cold and quiet of winter - it leads me to do a lot of introspection and thinking. - It's currently -8 here and I'll be taking the dogs out on a long walk shortly - as the saying goes, there is no bad weather, only bad gear! Get good clothes and you can be outside no matter what the temps.- I run and fatbike in the woods in the dark with lights - completely transformative and magical to do this in the snow in the dark, and it makes you realize that life does not end when the sun goes down early.- definitely a lot of time for reading, writing, puzzling and relaxing- I try to make plans during the week at night, no matter what, so that I'm not always just looking forward to the weekend. This can be as simple as a phone call with a friend, or a long walk, but having something to aim for on a Wednesday evening makes the whole week better.
Winter sports to keep moving and get outside !Skiing skating tubing indoor tennis !
Someone shared this quote w/ me yesterday and I love it: “Plants and animals don’t fight the winter; they don’t pretend it’s not happening and attempt to carry on living the same lives that they lived in the summer. They prepare. They adapt. They perform extraordinary acts of metamorphosis to get them through. Winter is a time of withdrawing from the world, maximising scant resources, carrying out acts of brutal efficiency and vanishing from sight; but that’s where the transformation occurs. Winter is not the death of the life cycle, but its crucible.” - Katherine May
Love this. I've been feeling this the last few years and empowered to rest and conserve my energy. I don't need to be rushing rushing like I am the rest of the year and that's ok. Than you for sharing this.
I've been trying to "embrace" winter (stopped complaining about cold, going on brisk morning walks in the bright early sunshine, spending time being grateful for the good things winter brings, etc) and it's starting to work! Love the idea of using seasons to explore different parts of ourselves and the world around us.
Gosh I love it! Thank you for sharing :)
I live in a temperate rainforest on an island in a northern section of the US so winter here feels long, wet, dark, foggy, windy, and occasionally pretty damn cold. Getting outside - daily, even walking in the rain with good gear is SO integral. With the right gear, I am totally dry and often rather comfortable, if not almost too hot! I see the most amazing wildlife and plants without stepping foot on a 'real' trail. Even if it is just bunnies and some really enviable landscaping. 20 mins does the trick and I often say out longer - an hour usually with a podcast! Please do this in daylight tho - lunchtime is my getaway time and then I'll eat at my desk another time if I am super busy.A really engaging book (sure we all love non-fiction, growth and development books), but a REALLY can't put it down sort of book really does wonders to generate excitement for a future period.Hobbies - one physical (I prefer outdoors) and one creative. My physical ones: riding horses (have since I was 7, now 31), hiking/ running, and when available weight lifting - I MISS the gym. For creative: vintage / luxury shopping / up-cycling OR antiquing/home design CAD stuff. Do the hobby at least weekly - 2x a week is a great sweet spot.It's HARD when days are short and you wanna sleep and do a lot of moping around. I also find coffee or tea ritual times really help with routine and overall feeling of hygge. I also take Vitamin D supplements year round, with a slight increase in the winter as well as B12 and other B vitamins. I also don't drink alcohol - didn't stop drinking for winter blues specifically (more generalized anxiety symptoms increasing around alcohol consumption or dread vibes the 36-48 hours after,) but I undeniably feel way less doom without booze, *especially* during the winter. Not preaching nor saying it's 'better for everyone', it was just 'better for me'. :)
wow, that sounds like an incredible place to live, would love to hear more about where it is? :)
Greater San Juan islands! - though technically I’m on an island very close to the mainland in northwest Washington about 90 mins / 2 hrs from Seattle
I am googling it, thank you for a bit of travel inspiration in these gloomy covid days :D
cmon out! the weather varies greatly by season, but it is a common tourist destination in the summertime. very little happenings in the winter, but lots of nice homes to Airbnb and just vibe with nature. Highly recommend a rental vehicle if you're not roadtripping or within driving distance - it is a bit rural out here!
Hihi I am in Croatia, so it's not the nearest place to visit :) will see if it can be connected with my next US trip (which is at the moment not yet planned but will probably be to Montana + NYC)
Ohhh I think you will really enjoy it here - there are some striking similarities in landscape and geography to Croatia out here. Montana is breathtaking and NYC (I grew up outside the city) is just so unique. Excited for you!
Wow. I visited the San Juan and Orcas islands a few times in my 8 years as a single woman in the Pacific NW. now I’m a married mom to a toddler and live in Texas.. I do miss the PNW some days. I hope to have my daughter learn horse riding.
As still a "weird horse girl" in my 30s, I cannot recommend horses as a hobby enough (provided one is aware of how expensive the sport is). All the women I've met through horses are self-respecting, hardworking, problem solving ladies. Horses are also the great equalizer across ages and professions: I have friends ages 14 - 75 who are high school students, professors, lawyers, climate scientists, psychiatrists, retired Art Directors, high-end jewelers, 3rd generation bakers, etc. It is a great community and teaches some really valuable life skills like budgeting, focus, dealing with anxiety, discipline, motor skills, and more. Some stables will teach kids as young as 5!
+one of the horses having a magical impact :) i also spend a lot of time with them and it is such a great boost in mindfulness and magic 💕
Definetly working out! I was gifted the Just Dance video game, I forgot how fun the game can be! It's an awesome way to have fun and still get moving.
I go to a sauna once a week to truly warm up. It changed my life. I also echo so much of the other advice: embrace winter (we need the rest), eat well, and get active (walking counts). Be kind and gentle to yourself. Remember, it’s temporary. 💛
• Winter sports/activities that get you outside. Where I am, winter means it's cloudy, chilly, and often rainy. A few years ago I got into mushroom foraging, which means that rainy weather is an exciting excuse to go outside as long as I have my waterproof gear. I'm planning to move to somewhere with properly cold winters soon, and can't wait to get into ice skating, snow shoeing, and cross country skiing since those are all affordable, great exercise, and easy to get friends to join. • Spending time outside every day, ideally an hour but even 15 minutes is better than nothing.• Using a "sunlight" alarm clock - my home gets tons of direct light in the summer and hardly any in the winter, so it's hard for me to wake up without it. • Virtual movement classes. I signed up for an early morning yoga class on zoom, and while I'm cranky for the first 20 minutes I'm always in a great mood after.• Plan for cozy nights in. I've been rewatching Friends and doing lots of baking, picked up a new instrument and upped my supplies for decadent baths (lately I'm really into epsom salt, essential oils and rose petals) • Therapy! If you can afford it or have it covered by insurance, it's never a bad idea.
I've been using a daylight lamp for several years, and it makes a very big difference for me. You must place it so that the light is just above your eyes for the best effect, though!
thanks for this post @Mirna! I hail from sunny Singapore and had a very bad bout of "winter blues' when I experienced my first winter after relocating to Europe. I have found the following strategies helpful:1. Acknowledging & accepting Winter as a time for hibernation, withdrawal, restoration & Rest. I practice seasonality, meaning I schedule most of my work in the period of Spring - Autumn, with much of it peaking in early autumn, and withdraw to reflect, review and introspect during Winter. There is a deeper layer of this cyclical wisdom - within each month, for the menstrual cycle, my 'bleed' is my winter, my ovulation is my summer, my follicular phase is spring, so on. I flow with the energy and tone for each of the seasons. My bleed during winter is especially sacred because this is when enter a state of deep introspection and connect with my intuition. I owe my growth in the last 3-5 years to balancing and bridging my intuition, creativity (right brain - 'I have to do this, I don't know why but I will trust and do it') with my logic, strategy (left brain - 'Judging from the situation/data, this seems the best strategy to achieve this goal'). A metaphor that really resonates with me is the idea that winter is the time we tend to the soil of our garden and plant the seeds. Germination happens under the soil in the darkness, so on the outside no one can see, but the magic is deep within. 2. Slowing down, Moving into StillnessI love movement and I'm also an embodied movement educator (Qi Gong, Yoga, Somatics). However in winter, in general instead of doing HIIT, sprinting, I opt for gentle or restorative Yoga, Yoga Nidra (wonderful form of lying down meditation that helps with mental clarity while relieving tension in the body), trekking and lots of rest. During times where I feel I have excess energy to release (usually around ovulation) I rev up my physical movement intensity but still keep it lower than say during Summer. 3. Surrounding myself with things that light me up: I try to maintain a natural sense of the sunset and sunrise to flow with the rhythms of nature, but support myself with some light. As sunset approaches, I like to burn candles and have fairy lights to surround my workspace. Even as I continue to work through some evenings, this changes the mood and allows me to feel held and supported. It keeps me aware of the feeling of being in darkness while having a little light around me. 4. Acknowledging sadness and feeling of emptiness:In the framework of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the energy of Winter is associated with the water element, a descending energy that signals the return to the Source. Animals withdraw into hibernation, trees hold on to the bare minimum, and there is a feeling of emptiness, void. When I feel a rising sadness I like to imagine this as a person, and I visualize myself sitting with this feeling, and I write daily, 3 pages of stream of consciousness writing, in 3rd person (she was ... she felt, she could...) I find this gives me distance between my feelings, sensations and my self while acknowledging these as a part of me. Sometimes as I do this I listen to music (my current favourite is FKJ's 'Just Piano'. I also allow myself to experience this void, emptiness as a space of potential. 5. Taking care of myself, simply becauseIn winter, I love trying different tea flavors (we have like 20?) and long warm baths while reading (my current read is 4000 weeks!) alone while my partner is out of the house. And even though I am extroverted and love spending time in company, once a week I take myself on an 'artist date' where I indulge my inner creativity (it could be getting lost taking public transport, exploring a new cafe I've never tried, going somewhere new, trying a musical instrument (I just got a Kalimba and the sound it makes is divine). There is a lot of chatter about self-care and this idea of self-care either as indulgent or as being important so we can then care for others, but I feel it is important to care for myself simply because. Not for any other reason.
wooow, this is so beautifully written, so much harmony coming out of your post :) thank you for sharing and inspiring me to listen to myself a bit more :)
Hi @Mirna - I totally resonate with the 'winter blues' and somehow each year am shocked by it as if it's for the first time :) This year, I'm trying to lean in to the emotions and enjoy the slow, restful, introspective time. Excited to read more, watch more, consume more, nourish my body in ways I skimp out on during other more social seasons. That being said, movement (yoga, dancing, finding what makes you feel good!) and bundling up and getting outside in the sunshine regardless of how cold it is also really helps me. <3