Winter, for me, is tough. I love the stillness and the time you get to go inward and not feel guilty for choosing to stay indoors, light some candles and bury yourself under throw blankets (though, now that I think of it… I never really feel guilty for doing that). But you get the point. When it’s summer/spring, there’s always this feeling of “I should be outside and taking in the warm temps!” but winter doesn’t have that same affect. The holidays can be a bit stressful, sure, but all in all.. I’m such a fan of going inward, reflecting on the past year, taking time to rest and of course, nesting my space and making it ultra cozy.
But the real trigger with winter is those dreaded winter blues. It’s a real thing, and I wanted to take a second to shine some light on the depression that can come through when the sky starts to get dark at 4pm and the temps are at an all time low. You start the see the sun a bit less, your friends a bit less, maybe you drink a bit more wine than usual, you might even online shop more than usual.. I think it’s do-time that we shatter the taboo-ness (just made up that word) on something that is so real and detrimental to our psyche.
Since I’ve been battling seasonal depression for years (my dad got it every year, and one of my sisters gets it really bad, too), I’ve learned some tips that have drastically helped. While nothing takes it away completely (other than moving to California, ha), it’s really vital to have a toolkit up your sleeve, and to be able to take some preventative measures where you can.
So let’s jump in!
5 Simple Ways To Combat Winter Depression
LED light therapy lamp.
There are so many to choose from, and I’ve tried a couple over the years, but this one is my favorite.
Vitamin D shots.
You can get these from your practitioner, but if you don’t have one of those or that just feels too daunting, you can visit a local IV station (here in Chicago we have a place called IvMe and they have locations all over). If either of those aren’t an option for you, at the very least, grab some Vitamin D from the store or Amazon. I highly recommend getting it in liquid form (with the dropper) as this gets into your bloodstream much, much quicker.
I’m not a real fan of having my workout first thing (I ebb and flow with this) — as my creativity is intense when I first wake up. So I like to honor that process and hit my workout around noon. BUT, when the winter blues hit, it’s really nice to jumpstart that as soon as possible, and at the very least, to get my body moving. Even if that means I’m taking a long morning walk with Jasper and then doing my barre or Orange Theory class later in the day. Endorphins are so powerful and helpful when it comes to any kind of depression, and winter depression is no exception. A little bonus? Gift yourself a workout outfit that makes you feel confident and radiant every time you put it on. I bought these pants in almost every color (and the price is so right) — they’re AMAZING. And each morning when I slip on a pair, I not only love the way they make my body look, but it encourages me to get moving.
A good, supportive playlist.
This might sound a little silly, but having the right music can be so, so supportive. I have a calming playlist via Spotify that is filled with songs that always make me feel balanced and held, BUT, one of the best ways to uplift me during a winter blues spell is to remind myself what I love about winter in the first place — the holidays. You guessed it, I play Christmas music. And it WORKS.
Hydration, hydration, hydration.
I know, you’re probably thinking “how many more wellness blogs am I going to read where they tell me to drink water?!” But honestly, water is the root to almost all of our problems. Our immune system, our gut health, our depression, our sleep patterns, our external selves (skin/hair), you name it.. water is a savior. So, drink it. (80 ounces is ideal — I’ve been using this to ensure I drink 1 gallon a day, and I can 100% feel a difference in my body and my energy levels)
So there you have it. Just a handful of tips that have worked really, really well for me in the past — and that I’m starting to reimplement into my life now that the sky is more consistently gray, and the sun is setting at a whopping 4pm. It’s quite the adjustment, but we can get ahead of it if we’re mindful of the actual problem — that it isn’t us, it’s the season. (Please remember that there’s nothing wrong with you, and that you always have support whether its here, your family and friends, or a professional therapist to see you through).