Today I’m going to give you the first ten (of 30) tips and tricks I’ve learned to battle seasonal depression. You certainly don’t have to have actual Seasonal Affective Disorder to experience the Winter Blues.

February is that odd month for me… and I know many agree. It’s short, it’s full of exciting/busy activities, but it also just DRAGS on and on and on because we can see the light of Spring at the end of the tunnel but we just aren’t. quite. there. yet.

So if you’re feeling the winter blues a bit, here are some ideas I’ve found to help me power through. 

 

 

1. Spend 15 minutes looking at photos from an event that made you really happy. In her book The Happiness Project {affiliate link here, I highly recommend} Gretchen Rubin writes “Studies show that recalling happy times helps boost happiness in the present. When people reminisce, they focus on positive memories, with the result that recalling the past amplifies the positive and minimizes the negative.” I have an album on my computer that’s full of pictures of my girls that make me smile. I also sometimes dig into the home videos from when they were tiny punk munchkins.

2. Take a brisk walk around your neighborhood and look for the beauty in Winter. It seriously doesn’t have to be a long walk, especially if it’s freezing outside. Just follow the German saying that “there’s no bad weather, only bad clothing” and get yourself out there! Studies show that even on cloudy days, your brain still registers that you’re outside and this can boost your serotonin levels. Fresh air also lifts your spirits. And if you’re freezing, then you’ll walk fast and if you stay out long enough you can totally count it as exercise! (see #6)

3. Dance to loud music for 10 minutes. Dudes I’m a terrible dancer. But we’re talking about the comfort and secrecy privacy of your home. No one has to know. It gets your heart rate up and it makes you smile. Being silly is always better than being SAD 😉 So go ahead, blast that boy band garbage. Cause you know you love it.

4. Find a friend who loves snail mail and agree to send each other postcards or pretty letters, especially throughout the winter months. Buy lovely stationery. Decorate it with stamps or stickers. Brightening someone’s day will brighten yours, and receiving something in your mailbox besides junk and bills will be a huge boost for you!

5. Take a 15 minute power nap. If you’ve never considered yourself in need of a power nap, you should reconsider. I’m a huge believer in the power of a short afternoon nap (heck I also love long, lazy afternoon naps, too, but those are unsurprisingly counterproductive to getting any real work done so…) I like this great post about power napping. Shake yourself out of that groggy, tired, unproductive feeling by giving your brain and body a nice little rest!

 

 

6. Exercise at least a little bit every single day. I know I know I know. We KNOW that this one is huge. We KNOW why. We KNOW how much better we feel when we exercise. But alas, we (or at least ME haha) just don’t do it as much as we should. I’m making exercise a priority this month. I’m a not saying I think I’ll hit that target of 5 times a week, but whatever at least I’m stretching 😉 #yogaprocess

7. Volunteer somewhere new. I recently started volunteering once a week sorting books at the library for the Friends of the Library Book Sale. We raise money by selling all the donated books from the community and giving it back to the library for new books and programs. It’s given me a nice little boost to go into the garage once a week and get my hands dirty for a great cause.

 

 

8. Buy and regularly use a therapy light. When I saw a psychologist a few years back about actual Seasonal Affective Disorder, his first recommendation was a therapy light. The price was a bit daunting, but it has been worth every penny. It’s all about tricking your brain into thinking it’s a bright sunny day outside… increasing the amount of serotonin your body makes, boosting your mood and energy levels, and helping you regulate your sleep. I don’t care if it’s 100% placebo effect, I noticed a difference within a week of first using it. It’s really helpful for the days there just isn’t blue sky to stare happily at.

9. Schedule time with a faraway friend or family member who always lifts your spirits. Connecting with an old friend always gets me in a great mood, in part because of all the laughter and catching up, and in part because it reminds me of all the good times we’ve shared. Talk on the phone, share some tea during a FaceTime chat, whatever you like! Reconnect with loved ones you haven’t seen in awhile!

10. Create a funny Pinterest board and spend 10 minutes chuckling when you feel down. I have created this board “When you just need to laugh” that you can follow to get yours started. Laughing regularly is a legit way to boost your mood for free with zero side effects!

 


 

If these tips gave you some good ideas to get out of your SAD slump, please share on Pinterest, Facebook, or Twitter!

And be sure to come back later this week for the next ten tips!