This has to be the warmest December I’ve experienced since I moved to Canada. It’s a whopping 14 degrees Celsius here in Waterloo today. Totally crazy! But as someone coming from a Caribbean island, anything below 24 degrees Celcius is actually way outside of my comfort zone.
I actually spent my first winter holed up in my dorm room, alternately crying and gorging on cookies because I was so depressed about the cold. Since then, I’ve figured out how to manage my instinctive ‘hibernate’ reaction to the cold but it isn’t always easy.
There are still days when I just want to (and do) stay in bed all day and do nothing. And there are others when I’m able to drag myself out of bed and actually enjoy the day. But, it definitely takes work. So today I wanted to share a few of the things that help me beat the winter blues most days.
1. Take Vitamin D Supplements
A huge part of my cold weather depression stems from the lack of sunlight. My body is used to the continuous effects of the sun, and it goes into withdrawal when the rays are sparse. In my first semester, a doctor on campus recommended vitamin D supplements and taking them was one of the best decisions. It didn’t automatically cure me of my dislike of the cold or gloomy weather, but it definitely made it a lot more bearable.
2. Buy cute cold weather clothes
My fall wardrobe is one of my nicest, not because I have a huge love affair with fall, but because dressing well makes me feel good. I don’t bundle up in bulky sweats like I did in my first year and it makes a huge difference. I actually enjoy getting to wear my patterned stockings and leggings and stylish boots. So going out into the cold doesn’t always feel like a chore.
3. Get outside
This may seem counter-intuitive, but hear me out. Staying indoors for 6-8months of the year is not the way to go about being happy. It gets old really quickly and just adds to your unhappiness. So try to get outside for at least an hour a day. Get some fresh, albeit cold, air on your face. Take a walk. Meet up with friends. Do something to feed your social side so you don’t wither away at home.
4. Try a snow/winter activity
I have to admit I’ve never done one of these before. I’ve never been skiing, snowboarding or even tobogganing. But I’m pretty sure if you learn to enjoy them, you’ll gain a new appreciation for the winter months. I have quite a few friends from the Caribbean who actually look forward to snow because of their love of skiing and snowboarding. Sounds crazy to me but apparently it works.
5. Bake or Cook
Turning on the stove or oven is a great way to battle the winter blues. First, it heats up the kitchen so you aren’t as cold, which is always good. Second, you get to do something. You’re keeping yourself busy and not dwelling on your unhappiness. Plus, at the end of it all, you get to eat, and we know how much I like to eat.
6. Eat well
Speaking of eating, make sure what you’re eating is actually nutritious. I find it a bit harder to get my fruits and veggies in during the colder months because just want to eat all the baked goods. But as good as brownies and cookies are, a good diet should include a few other things. And a poor diet can definitely affect your happiness and overall mood. Some of my favourite meals for this time of the year are oatmeal, soups and warm sandwiches.
When you’re depressed about the cold and unhappy about being stuck inside, the first thing most people do is let go of healthy habits. And I’m speaking from experience. You end up skipping workouts and ordering pizza delivery and pretty much wallowing in your misery. As I mentioned above, a good diet is a huge part of staying upbeat when it’s cold out. But getting a good workout is another amazing way to boost your mood, thanks to all those lovely endorphins.
Related: 15 no equipment at home workouts
What about you?
- Do you battle winter depression/cold weather hatred?
- How do you deal with it?
- Any tips to add?
Share in the comments below!
Looking for more healthy living tips? Try these:
This post was originally published in October 2014