8 Ways to Brighten Your Days if You have the Winter Blues

This is the time of year for Winter Blues or more serious for some, the setting in of Seasonal Affective Disorder. The days are grayer, colder and darker. Maybe you’ve lost

interest in what you usually love to do. Or maybe you feel more anxious. Is your brain foggier; are you having a more difficult time processing information? Are you reaching for caffeine and sugar more often? Do you just feel like hibernating until spring? Most of us can identify in some way.

SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder, predictably sneaks up on us during late fall and we feel the full effects during January and February. The low light seems to be the culprit in SAD. As the days get “longer” and sunnier, our SAD symptoms lift and we feel great again. Yes, Seasonal Affective Disorder is a real medical condition. I have experienced it for as long as I can remember. Some of the symptoms include inability to concentrate and make decisions, withdrawal from people, sadness, anxiety, fatigue and cravings for carbohydrates and caffeine.

People who live in areas further away from the equator tend to be more affected and women more than men. Many experience milder symptoms and maybe not every year. We tend to refer to the milder form as Winter Blues.

When my kids were young, I had to figure out ways to manage my struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder so I could function. Maybe these suggestions will help you! And, oh! Even if you are simply dealing with the Winter Blues, these are great suggestions for you too!

1. Right away, schedule time with a friend or friends for at least once a week. Call or email people to:

  • arrange lunch dates
  • schedule a time to go to the movies
  • take a walk
  • meet for coffee/hot chocolate
  • take turns picking out a breakfast spot

2. Help the people closest to you understand that SAD is real. Ask them to be patient, to encourage you and reassure you that in a couple months you will feel better.

3. Make a simple schedule of things that need to be done regularly and post it where you can see it. Make it colorful – have a friend or child do that for you. Put specific times, but make it simple, not overwhelming. Remember, ordinary tasks may be more difficult right now so include: make kids’ lunches, plan meals, do laundry, take a walk, regular times to eat healthy snacks, etc.

4. Join a Bible Study, have a devotional you read each day and pray. Let God speak to the depth of your soul. He is the ultimate Comforter! Let Him feed your deepest needs.

5. This is a GREAT time to go through our book iChoose2 Love My Life You will address important areas of your life in tiny steps that are not overwhelming but help you feel like you are accomplishing something important.

6. Exercise regularly, preferably outdoors.

7. Stock your home with ONLY fruit, vegetables, lean protein and whole grains. NO SUGAR! Find other foods that can be treats. I make gluten free pancakes and spread them with natural almond butter. I make one soup a week – soothes me from the inside out. Air popped popcorn is warm and yummy.

8. Many people find Omega 3’s helpful for brain function; Light Therapy helpful for overall relief; wearing bright colors add some cheer; and playing games or doing something fun lifts the darkness.

Whether you have the Winter Blues or Seasonal Affective Disorder, take small steps so you can effectively manage it. How do you make these winter months more palatable? Please share in the comments section so we can help each other!

Betsy Ringer

Betsy has had a long career that includes training supervisors and managers at a large health care facility, creating new departments in churches and speaking to a wide variety of audiences. Many have discovered their design through her training in Spiritual Gifts, Personality and Passion. She is the speaking specialist at iBloom and uses her many years of experience to mentor other women entrepreneurs. She has jeeped in deserts in Mexico, hiked to remote waterfalls, landed on a glacier in a helicopter, parasailed over whales and went white water rafting in Alaska. Her adventuresome spirit is contagious and you will certainly catch her zest for life.
About Betsy Ringer

Betsy has had a long career that includes training supervisors and managers at a large health care facility, creating new departments in churches and speaking to a wide variety of audiences. Many have discovered their design through her training in Spiritual Gifts, Personality and Passion. She is the speaking specialist at iBloom and uses her many years of experience to mentor other women entrepreneurs. She has jeeped in deserts in Mexico, hiked to remote waterfalls, landed on a glacier in a helicopter, parasailed over whales and went white water rafting in Alaska. Her adventuresome spirit is contagious and you will certainly catch her zest for life.

Comments

  1. Great list! I have struggled with this for YEARS living in the Northeast. Adding vit D supplements works great, too. I take 5000 iu a day in the winter months. Then if I’m feeling blue, I take a bit more

  2. Love this post! I have also struggled with this for years. Thanks for the tips your shared!!!

    • Hi Denise! Thanks for sharing this and I’m glad it was helpful for you!! It’s a very real thing and it DOES help to have some actions we can take to help us make it through the dark winter days!! Blessings to you!!!

  3. Nichole Patrick says:

    My sister struggles with this a lot and I’ve noticed more and more people who do. I take my vitamin D regularly through out the year and I can tell a difference for myself. Vitamin D helps regulate your hormone levels along with boosting your immune system.

    Thanks for an article that helps make the world aware of the reality of this disorder!

    • Thanks, Nicole! I’m so glad you are aware of Seasonal Affective Disorder. I’m sure you have been able to support and encourage your sister knowing it is real and not imagined! Yes! Vitamin D3 is a huge help and helps with immunity as well. My husband has not been sick since he started taking it several years ago. I notice it helps me as well. I am so very glad you shared! Blessings – Betsy

  4. Gadys Zaenger says:

    Hi Betsy, I did struggle some with the winter blues while living in Ohio but living in Tennessee is much better. We do have our cold snaps (like we are now) but since retired I do get out at least 3 times a week going to stretch class and after some of us get together for coffee. When I am home there is always something to entertain my mind, reading, t.v., cleaning out cupboards, etc (now that takes some motivation) and, of course, there is always laundry and cleaning. Then there is lunch dates with my girlfriends from time to time. I started a birthday club and we go first to lunch and then to the movies and there are 9 of us. I enjoyed reading your tips and they are all very good ideas. I am going to re read them again and see if there is something I am missing. Keep up the good work Betsy because you are Awesome!!

    • Hi Gladys! Thanks so very much for sharing your great ideas!! You have it RIGHT!!! You engage in regular exercise that is just right for your age. You stimulate your mind, are active AND take time for fun. I love how you have regular social engagements – that’s one of the keys: schedule something regularly because then it’s on the calendar and you just have to show up!! Most of us are cheered by being with other people!
      You are a jewel!! Keep savoring life!!

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