Feeling a bit low after the holidays is something very familiar in our household. It’s freezing cold outside, sickness is usually running rampant (in both our family and our friends’ families), and it sometimes feels like there’s nothing fun to do or look forward to.
I didn’t know there was a name for this until a few years ago. Seasonal Affective disorder is a type of depression that relates to or follows the seasons. It affects a lot of people, including me and my hubby. It can range from very mild to very serious, and it’s important to know that every person is different, and that this post should not be regarded as medical advice. You can read more about seasonal affective disorder here.
This year we decided to dive into winter armed with an arsenal of strategies (built from years of learning what helps us most) to combat the post-holiday blues. Even if you don’t have seasonal affective disorder, those cold (and short!) winter days can be hard. Here are some things we try to do to help those days be less dark and drab, and more happy and healthy!
Schedule regular social or family activities, or date nights.
Set a coffee date with a good friend and keep it. Schedule a date night in with your spouse. Plan a Skype or FaceTime date with siblings or parents. Connecting with others always seems to brighten my spirits. Hubby and I have been purposely scheduling date nights at home (once sweet daughter is in bed). I’m also hoping to get serious about keeping in good contact with my girlfriends – the ones far away and in my community as well.
Bring discount/clearance flowers into your home.
We bought a six dollar bouquet from the grocery store this week to adorn our table on date night in, and I absolutely LOVE the beauty and scent it brings to brighten our house! When there’s nothing growing in your yard, it always helps every once in a while to add fresh flowers to a table, nightstand or counter.
Open the blinds and clean the windows.
Let as much natural light in as possible! There’s nothing like a little vitamin D to help promote positive winter vibes.
Keep a written list of short-term goals or projects.
It always feels amazing to set and complete doable goals! I am totally a list person, and I know if I write things down, I’m a ton more likely to finish those projects and complete those goals if I’m looking at them in my planner or on the fridge. I’m also a big proponent of making the list beautiful. It’s encouraging to look at neat, colorful lines drawn through the things I’ve already accomplished!
Embrace the Danish idea of Hygge.
Pronounced (hue-gah), Hygge is the idea of creating a warm, cozy, inviting and happy atmosphere in your home. Think a stack of books, scented candles, hot cups of tea, game nights with friends, extra throw blankets on the couch and lots of cuddling. It’s pretty much an excuse to be cozy, so I’m sold! Here’s a board on Pinterest I follow and an additional blog all about Hygge!
Add some happy to your diet!
Foods like brown rice, omega-3 fat-rich foods (like fish), and colorful fruits and veggies have been linked to fighting depression and seasonal affective disorder. Plus, when you eat better, you feel better! I like this article that explains how certain foods can help with seasonal affective disorder.
Work up a sweat.
Whether your favorite way to exercise is hitting the gym, doing Zumba with a friend, walking the dog, or doing yoga or PiYo at home, don’t forget to engage your mind and body in some physical activity. I always forget and underestimate how powerful exercise is in fighting off wintertime blues. And if you’re tired of the same old thing, do some fun research on Pinterest to find a new workout video or routine. Here are my current favs!
Switch things up.
When I feel the monotony of daily winter life, it helps to shake my daily routine up a bit. I try to take different routes to run routine errands. We move around furniture. Hubby and I switch up our Netflix que and think of fresh date night ideas. I rotate the kids’ toys. Sometimes a new perspective can help a lot!
Clean out the _______________.
The garage. Your closet. The kids’ bookshelves. Your digital photo albums. Organizing, sorting and donating can have a soothing effect on one’s soul. Sometimes you might have to set aside an hour or two, or even a day to go through that closet or drawer, but in the end, you’ll have completed a big to-do, sorted your things in a new or beautiful way, and donated items you no longer need. Win-win-win!
Treat yourself/your family to something small.
Like doughnuts. 🙂 Or a day window shopping with your best friend or mom. Or an hour alone at your favorite café with your favorite book. Setting the calendar for these special little somethings gives me something to look forward to. Today was our first free Saturday since the holidays, and the temps are in the low 20s. So we spent an hour as a family browsing a local bookstore, playing at an indoor playground, and drinking coffee and apple cider at the coffee shop. And yes, there may have been doughnuts involved. ❤ Those special little moments are the best!
These are just a few methods we use habitually to help keep winter happy. Even having an idea or plan of what to do when those empty or sad feeling days hit can help me. Hopefully our ideas can help others too!
What are some ways you beat the post-holiday blues?