W e’ve made it on the other side of the Winter Solstice, a white Christmas, and record snowfalls throughout the US. And, if you believe folk tales, the Groundhog saw his shadow and scampered back into his den for six more weeks of winter. Even if you aren’t buried under snow, the greyer tone of the light and cooler temperatures may be leading to you spending more time indoors.
Darling, don’t beat yourself up if you’re feeling a little drained, irritable or downright blue. The most optimistic of my friends and clients are struggling. Though the laws of nature promise that, even if it arrives late, Spring will eventually arrive. But, what can you do in the meantime to chase the blues away?
Here are fifteen ways to chase away the winter blues.
Go to the Light
When the sun makes an appearance, seek the rays. Open your blinds. Bundle up and get outside and feel the sun on your face. Go for a drive on a sunny day (or at least take the longer routes on errands). And if you’re seriously light deprived, consider one of those light boxes which simulate sunlight.
Bring Spring Indoors
I’ve always loved flowers, so I keep them in the house year round. I find it really lifts my mood on those greyer days. It doesn’t have to be an expensive investment; grocery store flowers are gorgeous. Green plants are helpful, too, as they bring in fresh oxygen. Though I’m not gifted with a green thumb when it comes to indoor plants, JB tends our palm trees Brutus & Goliath.
It’s tempting to dive into the comfort of pastries, chocolate, and other kinds of soul foods in the winter months. I believe that food is all about love (which is why I include a recipe each Saturday in my newsletter). However, it’s important to remember that food is about not only nourishing the body but also tantalizing the mind and comforting the soul, I also know that I feel better when I give my body lots of whole-food based meals. Fresh fruits and vegetables may seem like a faraway dream, but there’s more available than you think.
Choosing lean proteins is important. Don’t rule out grass-fed beef and wild fish, as they are great sources of Omega 3 Fatty Acids. It’s also a great time of year to make hearty bean soups, broth based vegetable soups with root vegetables, and lots of dark greens. I’m not personally a fan of Kale, but I do love Swiss chard and spinach!
Because it’s not hot, we don’t tend to drink as much in the winter month. Being inside and with heaters all day makes the air dryer, so it’s just as important to stay hydrated now as it is in the summer months. Sip on water all day (add lemon or lime for a burst of citrus and flavor). Make cups of hot tea. Have broth based soups. Dehydration makes you cranky and tired, so drink up!
Take Your Vitamins
As much as I’d love to say you can get everything you need in your diet, I’d be lying. The first time I really understood this was seven years ago when my doctor suggested a prescription strength Omega 3 to better support my heart. In concert with my doctor, my daily vitamin pack has totally changed how supported my body feels, especially in the winter months. One of the big ah-ha’s this summer was that I had a Vitamin D deficiency. At your next doctor’s appointment, ask if your doctor can check your Vitamin D levels. And discuss a vitamin and supplement regimen that fits your health needs and lifestyle.
Get More Sleep
Bears hibernate in the winter, but just because we aren’t bears doesn’t mean we don’t need more sleep in the winter months. In fact, we are a sleep deprived civilization. The more research they do on sleep, the more they discover that adequate sleep is critical for mental and physical health. The average adult needs a minimum of seven hours of sleep a night.
This is the perfect time of year to get your house in order. Get a big garbage bag and pile in all the summer clothes that no one wore last year as well as those winter clothes that haven’t been worn either. Cull through your books. Recycle or store those magazines. File all of the stacks of papers. Get rid of things you just don’t need. Want more ideas? Snag my “Clearing Clutter for Mind, Body & Soul Newsletter (my free monthly gift for 30 Days to Clarity subscribers).
Meditate by Candlelight
Meditation is grounding and soul nourishing. It will help you reduce stress and connect to the core of who you are. Being light deprived in the winter months means that you can bring a softness to your world with candles. Put them together to create an inviting and sacred moment.
Update Your Foundations.
When’s the last time you bought a new bra? How about underwear? Socks? Go through your foundational garments and ditch anything with holes, stains, or elastic that’s shot. Ladies? Invest in at least one new beautiful bra and panty set. Gentlemen? Invest in some new underwear, socks, and undershirts (if you wear them). When your foundational garments are in tip-top shape, you’ll feel better. (Besides, sexy lingerie will make you feel sexier and more powerful.)
Dive Into The Sensual.
Speaking of foundational garments, indulge in silky and lacy garments to tempt your senses. Buy some high thread count sheets and sleep naked to tantalize your skin. Luxuriate in a bubble bath. Stand under the full-blast shower-head. Fix a cup of cocoa. Wrap yourself in a fluffy towel. Dim the lights. Put your brain on “hold” and just allow your senses to run wild!
Sex may not be the answer to everything, but it certainly is a good answer to a lot of questions. Get naked and sweaty. Indulge in soft caresses. Kiss that spot behind his left ear. Don’t use the excuse that you don’t “feel like it”. Let your inhibitions go and get naughty. Orgasms are good for you, so even if you aren’t partnered up, a little personal tending may be in order.
Even if you’re an introvert, make a point of communicating with others face-to-face. Our partners and work sometimes just don’t give us the contact we need. Linger at the grocery store and while you’re there, smile at strangers, ask the butcher about alternative cuts of meat, and ask the cashier how her day is going. Go to a yoga or Zumba class. Meet a friend for coffee. Go out to lunch and sit at the bar of a restaurant and talk to the other patrons or the bar tender.
Embrace Other Voices
Dive into the creative fruits of others labors. Watch an entire season of a show on Netflix. Read the latest spy novel. Re-read childhood classic or favorite. Cuddle up to a good movie. It’s important to get other voices in our heads on a regular basis.
Cook a new recipe. Create a vision board. Begin a writing practice. Take up painting or knitting. Indulging in your creativity will challenge (and ignite) your mind.
Last, But Not Least: Seek Help
If your winter blues are more than just a little blue, then, darling, get help. You do not have to suffer in silence. Find a therapist, talk to your doctor, work with a coach.
I know that spring is just around the corner, but I also know that it may not feel as if it will ever arrives. Using these tools won’t wave a magic wand over life, but it will help you to armor your heart and soul. What about YOU? What words of wisdom can you lend to those who need to those struggling with this long winter?