The shorter days and colder weather of winter can naturally lead to dips in motivation, decreased energy and even sad feelings.
To help reduce the impact of the winter blues, consider these ten tips:
Maintain outdoor exercise routines. Layer up, wear a hat, mask if needed, gloves, even ear warmers. Even with the lower temperatures, you will benefit physically, mentally and emotionally from staying active.
Rejuvenate with nurturing self-care. Mindfulness practices, healthful food choices, regular exercise, and rest will help you recover, boost your immune system, as well as increase your resilience for future challenges.
Lift your spirits. Plan fun activities to look forward to like a virtual dinner and a movie with fun friends, an online cooking class or a quiet night at home.
Add color. Wear a splash of color to perk up not only your own mood, but those at home or on Zoom calls with you.
Have a default plan. Be “snow day” ready by having games, ingredients for making comforting treats, good reads or Netflix access on-hand, so that your snow days will be cozy and enjoyable.
Examine your mindset. Colder weather, less sunshine and the impact these factors have on our biology is certainly real. However, your mindset plays a large part in how you manage your symptoms. Which of these tips can help you shift from “trudge through” to “can do”?
Clear the clutter. Spend time indoors purging old clothes, reorganizing a bookshelf or creating a new space to enjoy your morning coffee or tea.
Try something new. Learn a new skill (French or guitar lessons online, rock climbing YouTube videos) or resume a former hobby (photography, R/C piloting) to keep your mind active.
Shed some light. Reduced light exposure during fall and winter months can impact mood, energy and motivation. Being outdoors during daylight hours can help lift winter doldrums.
Know what YOU need. Most people are impacted in some way by the seasonal changes in temperature and daylight hours during the winter months. For some, the effect on functioning is even greater, resulting in pervasively sad mood, loss of interest in activities, significant fatigue, sleeping more, difficulty concentrating or craving and eating more starches and sweets. If you struggle with the changing seasons, experience some of these symptoms or have difficulty functioning at home or work/school, it is recommended that you consult with a counselor or psychologist to determine the support you need. Many mental health professionals have telehealth sessions available.
Cheri Timmons is a Greensboro Downtown Parks program partner. The work she does with us is critical to providing FREE wellness programming to our park community. As we make our way through these unprecedented times, consider how you might support local Greensboro non-profits like us, as well as local businesses, artists, entrepreneurs like Cheri, makers, and more. We'll continue to bring you free programming through our digital platforms and look forward to having you join us and Cheri back in the parks soon!