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The last week has been absolutely freezing. We are talking record breaking temperatures across the country with dangerous wind chill and excessive snow fall. I was already struggling a bit trying to make it through the winter, but snow storm Jayden felt like the cherry on top of this seasonal depression.
It has been hard to get out of bed, let alone go to the gym or the grocery store. I’ve also been battling sinus and tension headaches to add to the mix. And lets not even talk about the effect this had had on my motivation at work.
I desperately need a vacation with palm trees and sunshine. Unfortunately, that is not in the cards this winter as we save for our destination wedding in June. We took one last winter and I remember it being the perfect way to break up the winter season.
Since we can’t take a trip to somewhere warm, I asked Instagram what to do for the winter blues, and there were all sorts of great ideas to help with seasonal depression. In fact, so many great ideas that I wanted to share them for anyone else who may be struggling.
So many followers recommended a “happy light” which produces high-intensity ultraviolet-B (UVB) rays that trigger vitamin D production in the skin. After some quick research, many physicians do not recommend these lights as they can lead to skin tanning and damage. Other sunlamps don’t necessarily produce the UV spectrum that optimizes Vitamin D production making them ineffective. Instead of lights, most physicians recommend taking a simple Vitamin D supplement. I found so much information on light therapy, that I’m going to keep researching and do an entire post on it before I decide to buy one. I also want to ask a doctor’s opinion (aka my man). If you are confident in this therapy and interested, Amazon has tons of options.
Yoga was another popular suggestion for coping with grey skies and freezing temperatures. I’ve never been able to get into yoga. It’s a little slow for me, but I could see how intentional practice would be soothing for the mind. There are tons of great yoga apps out there for beginners all the way to expert level.
So many people encouraged me to try essential oils. I will admit, I do have an oil diffuser and I have never used it. I live with a doctor who is a bit skeptical of diffusing and it’s effects. That said, I do think I’m going to order some oils and try it. Endoflex, White Angelica, Valor, and Lavender were all recommendations for helping with winter blues. They are all considered emotional support oils.
Organizing & Cleaning
This is definitely something I have taken to in order to help pass the winter season. Marie Kondo was so inspiring to get things done around the house. Thanks to the Konmarie method, we have cleaned out and organized our drawers and closets, the bathroom linen closet, the one and only kitchen drawer, and now we are working on sorting through our papers. Many followers mentioned focusing on inside the house now while it’s freezing outside because when spring comes, they will have the freedom to spend it outside! I couldn’t agree more.
I purchased a bunch of trays and organizers to help with this project! If you are familiar with the Konmarie method, you know these a crucial for keeping things in a designated place. These baskets have been a GAME CHANGER in our our kitchen and our bathroom.
Interior House Projects
Interior projects like painting and decorating are also a good way to stay busy through the winter. I’ve started working on our mini, budget bathroom renovation with a fresh coat of paint. I also replaced our entryway light fixture with one I thrifted for $6.00, and now, I’m finishing up some details throughout the house like DIY window treatments. More on that project coming soon!
Visiting coffee shops was also a recommendation for beating the winter blues. Since I work from home, I try to get out and work from coffee shops at least once a week. One, it helps me get out of the house, and two, there is nothing better than a sugary, hot coffee in the dead of winter. I loved how my follower said, “It’s cozy and you look around and everyone is sipping hot drinks.” Coffee shops are generally good for mood and productivity, so working, reading, or hanging out in one during the winter is a no brainer.
Use Color as a Symbol
One follower talked about bringing a symbolic color into her home during the winter. I loved this concept. She said she brings out all sorts of yellow to boost her mood and reminder her of sunshine. I am a firm believe that our environment effects our mood, so this makes perfect sense. Another follower recommending painting a soothing color on my walls. Since our home is mostly a black and white pallet and I don’t plan on changing that, I really like the idea of warming it up with colorful throw pillows, blankets, rugs, and more.
Nothing cozier than snuggling up in a big blanket and reading a novel. I admit, I’m not a big fiction reader, but I do thoroughly enjoy self help, motivation and business books. That said, fiction can help take you to a warmer place when there are subzero temperatures outside. Some of my winter reads have included Daring Greatly and and Unf*ck Yourself.
So many people recommended working out during the winter to get you out of the house and get your blood pumping and sweat on. People also recommended at home workouts if you don’t want to leave your house! Andrew and I do CrossFit at least 3-4 days per week and I never regret going.
I’ve always wanted to start meditating, but I’ve never made it a priority. My life coach is a huge advocate of intentionally meditating each day and is always sharing the benefits of it. She recommended an app called Insight Timer. I downloaded it to my phone, but haven’t tried it yet. It has meditation tracks for beginners (like me).
Vitamins & Minerals
Countless people recommended a few different types of supplements, vitamins, and minerals to keep yourself healthy and your mood stabilized throughout the winter. Fish oil, Vitamin C, and Vitamin D3 were some of the top recommendations.
I take two of these gummy Olly multivitamins each day that contain both Vitamin C and D. They actually taste delicious! I like the taste of the berry and the citrus. The Olly vitamins also have folic acid which my doctor recommended taking each day since there could be a baby on the horizon sometime soon!
Another recommendation for me specifically was magnesium to help with my headaches. A follower also recommended St. John’s Wart for anxiety and wellbeing. Please note, although my man is a doctor, I am not! These are just personal recommendations I have received!
Relaxing or Happy Music
I think we highly underestimate the power of music when it comes to our moods! One follower recommended busting out the vinyl for a soothing music experience. I used to have a vintage record player, but lost it in my split. I’m seriously thinking about buying a new one since I have a bunch of records and no player! For now, I have a couple Spotify playlists on repeat! One is a relaxing playlist and the other an upbeat happy go lucky playlist of today’s hits. Oh, and I have a coffeehouse one that I love, too!
Oh the power of journaling! My life coach is a huge advocate of it. I go through spurts where I journal and write down my gratitudes each day. I need to do better making it a priority. Andrew also got me a sweet book for Christmas that is called 52 Lists for Happiness: Weekly Journaling Inspiration for Positivity, Balance, and Joy. This blog post is reminding me to start it! There is never a perfect time to start a new habit, so why not start today? For me, having something like the list book is a helpful guide. I struggle with writing when it’s just a blank page.
Steaming Hot Drinks
Hot drinks like coffee, tea, and cocoa are essential in these cold temperatures. We got an espresso machine for Christmas last season and it has been AMAZING. We love whipping up vanilla lattes and espresso shots for us and friends. We also have been setting our coffee pot at night so we can wake up to a hot pot in the morning. The delicious smell makes me want to get out of bed!
I save hot green tea and hot chocolate with marshmallows for night time. Green tea with honey and lemon is my go-to almost every night. We buy TAZO tea and I think it is delicious. Andrew likes the Passionfruit and I always drink green. The hot chocolate is more of a special treat. My favorite is the Starbucks dark chocolate hot cocoa with a heaping mound of mini marshmallows!
Carbs & Cuddles
You guys know, we really try to eat healthy at our house, but I see nothing wrong with comfort food now and then! Some of you recommended treating myself to a little carb binge. We totally splurged on pizza the other night and we are making spaghetti for dinner tonight. Another one of our rules is eating dinner at the dining room table, but we have been breaking that rule here and there to take a bowl of food to the sofa, sit under blankets, binge Netflix while eating dinner. That said, I don’t recommend doing this every day! I think it’s so good to sit down at the table and enjoy dinner time whether you are alone or with family. It’s something I was raised doing and will do with my future kiddos.
I do not watch TV. We don’t have cable and until recently, we didn’t even have Netflix. I decided to sign back up for it a few weeks ago because we found ourselves with down time in the evening. If there is any time to watch TV, it’s when there is 3 feet of snow outside on the ground! We have been watching:
Tidying up with Marie Kondo
This is Us
A Million Little Things
The Bachelor (duh)
No one really mentioned baths, but I have been taking a couple each week. The hot water warms me right up! I make it an extra special treat with a Lush bath bomb or some Lush bubble bath bar. It smells SO good and my skin is silky smooth when I get out of the tub. I also like using Epsom salt for soaking soar muscles after CrossFit. This one includes lavender essential oil and is the perfect nighttime treat.
I can’t thank you guys enough for all these ideas on combating the winter blues and seasonal depression. I’m looking forward to trying some of these things that I haven’t yet. I know steamy hot drinks and long baths are not going anywhere in my routine any time soon! I also will continue to drag my butt out of the house (snowstorms and all) to workout and visit coffee shops. Do you battle winter blues? What are you doing to make it through this freezing cold winter? Feel free to share in the comments!