6 tips to fight the mid-winter blues

Blah. It’s February. The depths of winter. Gloomy days relieved only by the darkness of night. A month made for curling up under the blankets and staying in bed. Sound familiar?

If you’re feeling sluggish and a bit low in spirits, you may be suffering from the mid-winter blues. Luckily, we’re here with six tips for raising your spirits and your energy until spring comes along:

  1. Exercise—Indoors or outdoors, exercise can work wonders in fighting mild feelings of depression. Whether you bundle up for a walk, do yoga at home or have a snowball fight with your kids, even 15 minutes of activity a day can help.

  2. Eat right—We tend to reach for starchy, sugary comfort foods when we’re down, but replacing those empty carbs with whole grains and adding the nutrients found in colorful fruits and vegetables will promote better moods, not to mention health.

  3. Grab some sunlight—When the sun appears, take advantage of it! Open your blinds and let the sun shine in. If you can, get outside and take a quick walk, go for a drive, run an errand—anything to get some of that bracing Vitamin D.

  4. Start a new hobby or interest—Keeping your mind active lifts your mood. Take an online class, write that novel, start online singing lessons, learn to meditate, knit or paint…the options are endless.

  5. Be social—Stay in touch with family and friends, even if it’s virtual—and especially if you live alone or work at home. We humans are social animals, and even introverts need love and connection. Or at least occasional communication with other human beings.

  6. Get cozy on the couch—If you’re stuck indoors, here are some useful reasons to park yourself on the sofa: Enjoying the divine medicine of laughter with a funny movie or TV show; losing yourself in a good book; or listening to upbeat music can stoke your spirits.  

This winter, why not take a cue from Scandinavians? Over the centuries they’ve spent coping with long, dreary winters, they’ve learned to embrace the practice of what the Danish call hygge (say “hoo-ga”)—a mood of coziness and comfort. It’s a time for them to enjoy being at home and spending quality time with family and friends. We hope the tips above will help you create your own feeling of hygge until the sun (and warmth) returns again.