The holidays are over, and the frigid cold has set in. The months of January and February are hard for me in Minnesota. Limited daylight, freezing temperatures that keep us inside, and of course, the continued pandemic with social isolation are just a few of the factors that can lead to those Winter Blues.
Winter Blues or the more intensive cousin, Seasonal Affective Disorder, affects 5% of the US population. Recently I learned that Seasonal Affective Disorder impacts women more than men! Since Seasonal Affective Disorder is more common the higher north you go in the US, it makes sense that we experience our fair share here.
As a lover of the warmth and sun, I sure feel it here in these winter months. For me, it shows up as fatigue, a major drop in my energy level, withdrawal, weight gain, and irritability. Often my sign of the winter blues is when you can find me crabby after work scrolling my phone in a haze of exhaustion and blah before I feel like going to bed at 7pm. Yuck!
Winter in Minnesota does not have to be all bad. As seasoned Minnesotans, it’s important to have some ways to combat our higher risk for those Winter Blues. I have compiled a list of some of my tried and true strategies to be intentional this year. Of course, as this year may be particularly harder for us all, I wanted to share it here with everyone.
5 Winter Blues Tips:
- Get some light and fresh air!
- Our bodies are really impacted by the lack of sunshine and the resulting vitamin D loss from these dark and cold days. Bring some more light into your life by sitting near a window when it’s sunny or make a point to spend a few more minutes outside mid-day when the sun is shining. If really limited, one can also purchase a specific SAD light to access some amazing light therapy for 30 minutes a day.
- Keep Moving!
- Winter makes us so sedentary without evening realizing it. Recently when it was negative 30 (exaggeration, I know!) I think my only activity in a day was walking upstairs and downstairs in my house! Our bodies crave movement as we cannot ignore those positive endorphins we get from it. Activity can be simple as taking the stairs at work, having a dance party, or if you’re feeling adventurous doing some indoor walking at the MOA or US Bank. Fun fact I heard US bank has indoor roller skating in the concourses this year. How fun for you and the family! https://www.usbankstadium.com/events/detail/winter-warm-up-1
- Stay Consistent!
- It’s easy to really lean into the cozy aesthetic of lounging around in the winter. Still, sometimes we can overdo it and fall off our routine. So don’t forget to keep your schedule as much as possible. Get good sleep, stay busy with fun activities, maintain your regular to-do’s. Keeping consistent through the winter primes us to hit the ground running when spring finally shows up!
- Have Fun!
- Nothing beats the winter blues like making winter fun! Check out some local winter activities. Plan a staycation. Keep humor and joy around. Try something new. This winter, I plan to do a virtual music class with my one-year-old and start dog training with the poodle.
- Seek Help if Needed!
- Sometimes the winter blues can get the best of us. Luckily there are some pretty awesome people available to help. Ask your doctor about your concerns and for treatment options. Therapists and other wellness providers are also well versed in tools to keep your mind, body, and spirit feeling your best.
While these 5 Winter Blues tips are not new or out of the ordinary. They are actually helpful if I am intentional about putting them into practice. Additionally, with the virus still impacting our daily life, its majorly important to set up a good practice this winter. Let me know how you plan to beat the winter blues this year!