For as long as I can remember, I have dreaded the cold weather and winter. Colder weather and shorter days trigger my depression – I’m sure you can relate. Suddenly, any time after 3 p.m. looks like I should be napping and anything that requires more than a jacket and scarf makes me feel like I shouldn’t be leaving the house. Fewer people are out and more people are just snuggling up with their lovers and friends. It usually means you’re probably spending more time alone too. I have too much time to think, too much time staying in, and rarely any time in the sun.
When this happens, people start to inevitably feel “down in the dumps” as the days get shorter and the nights get colder. It’s a little thing that experts refer to as “seasonal depression.”
Living in New York City has always meant that I would see these colder months and shorter days for solid 3-4 months every year. I know I can’t be alone in this, so I’ve compiled a list of things you can do to make sure that no matter how cold or how lonely you feel, you can combat the cold weather blues one sun-less day at a time.
1. Don’t make cold weather an excuse to stay in.
I’m soooo guilty of this. Once the weather gets cold, it’s like I think there’s a caution sign on the inside of my house door saying do not exit. Suddenly, I’m in my house all night long after school or work and there’s 0 difference between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. Do NOT do this. Put on your best sweater dress, blow out that hair and go out. Don’t stop having fun, don’t stop socializing. Don’t let the cold weather keep you down.
2. Commit to a fun workout.
Last year I picked up personal training and spin during the winter and it kept me feeling so balanced. Breaking a sweat releases endorphins that are crucial to your well-being. If you feel yourself starting to slip into a bit of a depression – hit the gym ASAP. It’ll keep your mind and body active, and you’ll look bomb-AF when summer strolls in.
3. Book a vacation for the middle of winter.
Why does everyone plan vacations between spring and summer when it’s already sunny out? Plan to go somewhere warm and break up these colder months or, plan to go somewhere cool and just explore new territory. Bottom line? Go somewhere other than your own home.
4. Limit your TV watching.
Everyone thinks that cold weather means it’s time to binge non-stop on Netflix. But, this will also contribute to your seasonal depression. Pick up a book, write in a journal, do sudoku, finish a crossword puzzle, play hangman for all I care – just stop sitting in front of the TV from 4 to 10 every day and call that a life. Keep your brain stimulated.
5. Pick up a hobby you’ve always wanted to try.
For some people this is crafting, for others, this is learning a new language or instrument. If you’re trying to stay indoors, at least make it productive. For all you know, that music can turn into a new talent, or that Spanish class can lead you to a resume booster.