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This post is sponsored by Discover, however, all opinions and determination to fight Winter-generated negativity is 100% mine.
Most people are surprised to hear that weather is my primary answer. Yes, there was a job opening for Joseph, and yes, we do have family who live a couple hours away, but the real truth is much more serious than that. I'm fighting a lifelong battle against depression, and the bleak, cold, and dreary weather of the New York was having a HUGE affect on my entire well-being!
Even though my struggle is related to much more than what people would just call the “winter blues,” the lack of sunlight certainly doesn't help. I desperately needed a change from the countless number of cloudy days to an environment filled with warmth and sunshine. When we finally made the move, I noticed a big difference in my daily positivity almost immediately.
And it's really no wonder. Sunshine is proven to make people happier, which is why so many people struggle with feeling down and discouraged during the winter season. There's even a term for it — Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) — which is a form of depression where one experiences extreme sadness and low energy levels when the days are dark and short.
If this describes the way you've been feeling lately, stop for a moment and ask yourself if weather is playing a significant part, or if there's potentially something larger here at play. Either way, I strongly encourage you to go talk to a doctor! They will be able to correctly diagnose and recommend specific treatments as necessary.
In the meantime though, there are plenty of things you can do to help boost your spirits and put a smile back on your face as best you can. These 5 tips lift me up whenever it feels like the darkness will never end.
1. Plan A Winter Getaway
Being cooped up inside all Winter gets old really quick. A weekend away, or even just a day around town, does wonders to change my mood and really revamp my perspective. I always get excited about tackling the day ahead when I've had an entirely new experience! It reminds me that life truly is an exceptional gift, and one I don't want to ever take for granted.
To find activities near you, research online deal sites that offer discounts and coupons to area restaurants and attractions. Or, if you have a little bit more room in your budget, consider a trip to a warmer (and sunnier) destination. Florida Vacation Auction offers plenty of hotels and vacation homes at more than 50% off, and you get to experience tropical weather without paying for an expensive Caribbean cruise.
Even better, if you apply for the Discover it® Miles credit card, you'll earn double the Miles for your first year as a new cardmember. But the really cool thing is, Miles never expire, and you can use the miles for more than just airline tickets — hotels, car rentals, train tickets, and more are also included.
Although if you do jet away to a tropical destination, my favorite perk is most definitely the $30 in-flight wi-fi credit. A blogger can't leave the interwebs too far behind!
2. Pamper Yourself
If I'm feeling frustrated or down, I immediately want to retreat to my bed and hide under a mountain of covers. While sleep is a very good thing as sometimes depression can be related to not enough rest, staying in bed all day often leaves you unmotivated and lethargic. What you really need, is a day to yourself with some extra love and pampering.
- Take a hot bath or shower, and spend extra time shampooing your hair, and using your favorite, most fragrant body wash.
- Blow dry, straighten, or curl your hair rather than throw it up in a messy bun, and put on a little bit of makeup. You'll feel pretty, not frumpy.
- Light a candle, prepare a hot beverage, and curl up with a soft blanket and page-turning fiction book.
When you give yourself margin in your overly hectic schedule, you learn to appreciate life a little bit more. Your energy tank is filled, and you're ready to tackle the week with vigor instead of dreading it. Putting yourself first might sound a little selfish, but it means a better (and happier), wife, mom, and friend in the long run!
3. Diffuse Essential Oils
Over the past year, I've been experimenting with different essential oils and it's amazing how many things you can use them for. With their unique ability to pass the blood-brain barrier and affect the emotional regions of your brain, these tiny drops of pure goodness make incredible mood boosters and can give you a little pick-me-up every time you need it.
For instance, if I'm running low on energy, I'll put a few drops of lemon on the back of my neck and the scent almost immediately invigorates me to tackle my to-do list. I'll also run a lemon/peppermint combo in my office diffuser for an extra kick.
Other essential oil blends that are great to diffuse if you feel emotionally icky are Joy and Citrus Fresh. You can also dab a bit of Valor on your wrists for strength to tackle the day ahead.
I did a lot of research on essential oils before I dove in headfirst — mainly because I didn't want to be sucked into a trendy fad that was more hype than fact. You can read more about my journey to the brand I currently use and trust right HERE.
4. Start a New Hobby or Project
You know all those DIY projects and craft tutorials you have pinned to your boards on Pinterest? It's time to pull out your glue gun (or power drill), and finally try one. I'm always shocked at how much better I feel after I pull myself away from the computer and indulge in my crafty side.
If you're not quite sure where to start, here are a few ideas:
- Take a cake decorating class at Michaels, or do it online with BluPrint instead.
- Learn how to knit and make a simple dishcloth for your kitchen. This is my favorite book with plenty of inspiration for pretty designs.
- Pull out your journaling and paint supplies, and flex those artistic muscles via Bible journaling or an adult coloring book. I'm strongly considering jumping into both this year!
You don't have to be insanely creative or crafty to start a project either — just the act of creating something yourself is enough to get those positive juices flowing.
5. Treat Your Body Right
We all know that healthy living makes a huge difference in our moods, but starting a daily regimen is a completely different story. The key to success is to start small, and once you feel the natural effects of your serotonin levels rising, you'll want to continue doing it because you feel so good. Begin by shoveling the walkway, trying yoga, dancing to a favorite song, or getting out for a brisk walk. The point is to just get moving!
Making healthy eating choices will make a big difference too. If you've ever felt sluggish throughout the afternoon because you had too many sugary snacks, you know it's time to change your habits. Keep cut up fresh fruits and veggies on hand so you can easily grab a snack. I also love these easy energy bites for a quick burst of good-for-you energy.
Lastly, get to sleep on time. Sleep is essential to a healthy, well-rested, and happy body! Decide on a specific time to turn out the lights each night, and don't look at your smartphone at least 30 minutes before bed. Instead, use that time to wind down with a good book!
These 5 practices will help make every day a little bit easier during the cold Winter months, but if your depression turns into something more serious, please talk to your doctor. It is not a stigma to seek help or to take medication. You have the right to feel better!
What Helps You Fight The Winter Blues?
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