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How can I avoid post-holiday, winter weather blues?

By January 3, 2009 - 9:17am
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I had a great time over the holidays. We saw friends and family, attended get-togethers and parties and had lots of foods, drinks and merriment.

How do I prevent myself from falling into the blue slump of January, February and March when the parties are over and the weather is extremely cold and snowy, and outdoor activity is limited and often unavailable?

One thing I am doing is making sure I am working out and exercising (I gained four pounds over the holidays which isn't bad and I'm not even upset about it as I'll lose it over the next couple of weeks) but other than that I'm a bit lost because so much of our lives are indoors due to snow storms and temps as low as 10 degrees. Often times it's too difficult/dangerous to drive unless it's really necessary.

It's all too tempting to sip on hot chocolate and a cookie "to go with it" and use low energy activities and food for comfort during these difficult months. Last year I fell into a slump like this and felt down and lonely, even though I'm surrounded by people. I get affected by the weather so much and moving to sunnier climes is not an option. In fact, I like to have a change in seasons, as I would not like to live where it was sunny and warm all the time, as weird as that may seem.

But when these winter months seem to drag on for 4...5...months, how do I beat the blues that seem to rear their ugly heads?

Add a Comment4 Comments

dear friends, as I live in south hemisphere, I am always living the opposite weather...can you imagine January in swimsuit? Despite this HUGE difference I perfectly understand your feelings ,,,I m chilling out right now :-(
and I have a tip: do handcraft, knit in a group of friends (not alone eating cookies...as I do), prepare winter ornaments and teach your loved ones how much fun you can have indoors.

(forgive my bad english...I m sapnish speaker)

July 6, 2010 - 8:16am

Celtic Thunder, I'm with you. After the holidays is when my blues set in. For me, it has to do with the short days and cold weather. I sometimes I suspect I have Seasonal Affective Disorder, simply because sun and light affect me so much.

I've found one thing that happens is a routine -- to make sure the house is bright. Open all the curtains and shades daily, especially if they're on the sunny side of the house. Turn the lights on in the house if it helps -- I always feel a little guilty when I do this, but I look at it as cheap therapy. If I go from room to room working on things and it's bright, I'm much more liable to keep working. If I walk into dark or cold rooms, I just want to curl up and cocoon.

For me, a huge thing is what food I keep in the house. If I commit to always have plenty of healthy food in the house to munch on, I do much much better. Because I know I'm going to munch, I just have to keep baby carrots, celery, low-cal ranch dressing, lean turkey, bananas and other fruit around the kitchen so that there's something waiting for me every time I start wandering and looking for something to distract me.

I agree with others' suggestions about how we need to get out. Perhaps that's something I need to concentrate on this winter as well.

January 5, 2009 - 10:24am

I "second" miscortes' suggestions, and think that having something to look forward to each week, as well as monthly, is a great idea. Think back to the summer: what were you looking forward to when you thought about the winter season? Do you enjoy winter outdoor activities?

CNN had an interesting article about beating the winter blues, and reported that research has shown to "watch movies featuring warm, sunny, summery climates" that the "winter depressives" show "demonstrable improvements in mood"! They even offered a movie suggestion: Lawrence of Arabia.

Along the same line...have you tried visual imagery? It is a wonderful mood enhancer and stress reliever. You can visualize yourself in your favorite warm climate, and use all of your senses in your imagery. For example, if your visualizing the beach, make sure you smell the ocean air, hear the waves, feel the warmth of the sun, taste the salt water. This can be done in 15-30 minute increments in the morning or evening, and has been shown to have positive effects on stress and mood.

Keep seeing your friends now that the holidays are over, watch some movies cuddled up under blankets with a loved one, be sure to get outside when possible, and do some social networking online if you feel lonely. You could also save up during the warm months for a weekly treat for yourself during the cold months, including a manicure/pedicure or massage. Lastly, you could use this time to try something new or start a hobby that you've always been curious about.

Tell us what you decide to try!

January 4, 2009 - 8:35pm
EmpowHER Guest

Oh the dreaded winter blues. This was a conversation topic in my neighborhood on New Years Day. There are several neighbors that get together quite often in the summertime and in the winter, it really becomes a quite place to live. There were a few things that we came up with in order to beat the winter blues.

We decided we would have a monthly game night where we would all get together to socialize. The other thing that I decided on personally was to get together with my girlfriend for dinner once a week. It does break up the monotony of winter.

I guess there are things that we need to do to stop sitting in the house and get outside in order to maintain solace during the winter seasons. Go for a walk with the family, sled riding, anything that involves getting outside. I think this will help with the dreaded winter blues.

Make a plan also. I plan on going to Las Vegas at the end of January in order to get a little bit of warmth in my blood. That way you have something to look forward to. Hope this helps...

January 3, 2009 - 12:25pm
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