How to Battle the Winter Blues

Whether you love winter or not, it’s no secret that winter brings the “winter blues”. This affects practically everyone due to the colder temperatures and lack of sunlight making us feel more down and lethargic. However, if your blues are affecting all aspects of your day other than just wanting to stay in bed longer and wishing for sunshine -- such as your relationships and overall quality of life -- then you may be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (aka SAD). SAD is a whole other battle than just the blues, and you should talk to your healthcare professional about ways you can overcome it together! I’ve always found that being a student during the winter semester is the hardest time for me; it feels more challenging to bring in the same grades and keep the same organization as the fall semester, despite it being the exact same workload. But at the end of the day,you just have to keep pushing forward and trying to get it all done so that it doesn’t pile up on you. Here are my favouritetricks to beat that stubborn Jack Frost. 

Set your alarm, create a sleep schedule, AND STICK TO IT!

Sticking to your sleep schedule is the most important part. I’ll admit, I’m the first person to hit snooze 50 times before finally rolling out of bed, but I also find on the mornings that I do wake up earlier I feel a bit better and therefore am more productive. While you’ve heard the famous “everyone needs 8 hours of sleep,” everyone is unique in how much sleep they require per night. So be sure to charge your batteries, but don’t over chargethem as getting too much sleep is actually worse than not getting enough! 

Get up and make your bed, even on Sundays

You don’t have to put on real clothes, pajamas work just fine for Sunday afternoons! But make sure you’re actually getting out of bed and not just laying around allllday. Lack of activity will actually just make you more tired and “blah”. By making your bed when you wake up, especially during the week, it helps to resist the urge to crawl back in and it gives you a mental checkmark that makes you want to continue being productive, like a domino effect. 

Get that vitamin D!

With such a small window of sunlight and the outdoors not being super inviting, make sure you’re including vitamin D in your diet. Try foods such as salmon, a glass of milk, or orange juice! If you’re vegan, definitely consider taking a vitamin D supplement. Another thing to consider is light therapy with vitamin D lamps

Do what you love

Do the things that make you happy such as rereading your favouritebook, painting, or going for a run either outside on a milder day or on a treadmill at the YMCA. It’s pretty easy for the “blah” feeling of the blues to make us disinterested in what we have to do, so make some time to do something you want to do! Never underestimatethe power of some good old fashioned “me-time.”

Try to get outdoors

Just getting some fresh air is a nice break sometimes. I think as we get older, we forget how much fun the winter can be! Go skating at Harmony Square, steal your younger sibling’s sled and go tobogganing at Devereux Park and warm up with some hot chocolate at Tim Horton’s after. Playing outside with your friends is a timeless activity that doesn’t have an age restriction. Just be sure to bundle up!