Do you struggle with seasonal depression? Even you don’t *technically* have depression, I think a lot of people struggle with general icky feelings during winter.
It’s easy to let negative emotions get the best of you when the snow is falling, it’s -1000 degrees outside and you just want to stay in the warmth of your bed. (I’m raising my hand over here!)
But there ARE a TON of ways to combat those feelings! The change in the seasons doesn’t have to make you feel crappy. You can implement some strategies literally TODAY to start feeling like a rock star! The 80 feet of snow that’s outside doesn’t have to bury you. (I kinda made a pun, lol. I get really proud of myself when that happens!)
So, keep reading for the top 8 tips that I personally use to battle seasonal depression!
1. Get yourself a cute little houseplant.
I LOVE having plants in my apartment! They are seriously the best thing ever when winter comes around. It’s like having a little piece of summer around even though it’s snowing!
I have an adorable cactus named Charlie (yes, he has a name, lol.)
Isn’t he cute?!
I love him. I’m always checking to see if needs water, giving him plenty of sun, and even talking to him. Am I crazy? Maybe.
But it’s one of the most effective things I’ve ever done to fight my seasonal depression. Having REAL greenery around simply reminds me of summer.
I recommend that you run over to your nearest Wal-Mart and buy one! Finding little plants are really not that expensive, and they’re easy to take care of! Keep it in your bedroom, on your desk, your coffee table, or wherever you need to remind you of sunnier days.
I also highly recommend that you name it. It makes it feel like it’s your little baby that you just cannot let die.
2. Wake up earlier to combat the early sunset.
I don’t know about you, but here in Ohio, the sun sets at 5pm during the winter.
Do I hate it? Yes. Is there anything I can do to change it? Unfortunately, no.
If you are in a similar situation, you know how much it sucks! Looking out your window and seeing it’s dark before dinner is even served can really make you feel like you got nothing done with your day.
I struggle with finding motivation for things when it gets dark, so if I still have to work past 5 (which often happens, because #imaworkaholic) it’s REALLY hard.
My advice is to wake up earlier than you normally would. Trust me, I know better than anyone that that’s hard, but it’s beneficial! I used to sleep till noon every single day.
But now, after some serious lifestyle changes, I love getting up by 7 or 7:30! If I get enough sleep, I can get up even earlier but that’s a challenge for me still.
Try it out for a few days! You’d be amazed to see how much you can get done in 9-10 hours while the light is still there.
And being productive is definitely one of the best tools to battle depression of any type.
3. Open your curtains.
I know that everyone wants to keep the curtains shut during the winter and light their candles and cuddle under the blankets in the dark.
But listen: OPEN YOUR DANG CURTAINS.
Bringing the sunlight into your apartment/house will be SO helpful!
Natural light is an awesome antidepressant. Seeing the light will help you find motivation to get out of bed, and you’ll appreciate its beauty!
I know it can be hard, but I promise that seeing the sun, the sparkle in a fresh snow, the prettiness of trees in the winter or even the power of a crazy snowfall is amazing stuff!
4. Listen to your favorite playlist.
Let me be clear: you need to listen to your favorite PUMP-ME-UP playlist.
I know that we all have a playlist that is made up of sad songs to listen to when we’re feeling sad, but I want to challenge you to do the exact opposite.
For me, that playlist would be Nicki Minaj (sorry mom.) I LOVE her. Listening to her music just makes me feel like a boss. I literally feel like I can accomplish whatever I need to for that day.
So, what is your pump-me-up playlist? Think about what makes you get up and literally dance, makes you sing out loud for fun, or makes you wanna go after all your dreams and let nothing stand in your way.
When you listen to your favorite playlist, you’ll no longer be thinking about your winter blues or your seasonal depression. It’s just not possible.
Related: Lists to Make When You’re Anxious
5. “Spring clean.”
Cleaning isn’t just for the spring, y’all!
Of course there’s some tasks that you just can’t do during the winter (like outside of your house, cleaning the windows, etc). But if you look around the inside of your house and find all kinds of things in disarray, I guarantee that it’s not helping any seasonal depression you struggle with.
An example: if I wake up in the morning in a bad mood, and come downstairs just to find a sink full of dirty dishes, I can promise you that I will not be any happier.
If you take a few hours and clean up around your house, the cleanliness of your surroundings will definitely help you keep a clean mindset and not fall into negative thinking. It also helps you feel like there’s a fresh start, and that’s really powerful, too.
Your few hours of cleaning don’t have to be really intense or crazy either. Some simple cleaning tasks you can do are:
- do the dishes and put them away
- fold the laundry
- clear off your desk/counter
- take all trash out
- make your bed
- organize your bathroom sink
Those aren’t hard! You’ll feel so accomplished once you’re done, you’ll be ready to move on to your next task and get sh*t done!
Related: How to De-clutter When You’re Stressed
6. Treat yourself to a mini spa day.
Who doesn’t love a good bath with a candle and some lotion?!
For me, that would be a perfect spa day. I’m not much into beauty things so it doesn’t extend much farther than that, but you can (and should!) do as much pampering as you want.
The winter can definitely wear on you, and you need to be able to find time to treat yourself! Taking a nice warm bath or shower will get rid of those chills, and doing whatever you can to make yourself feel beautiful and amazing will kick depression in its face.
You could even go out somewhere to get a manicure or a massage if you like! You should do whatever makes YOU the happiest and feel the best.
I also think it would be such a fun idea for you to have a friend or two over and you can have a mini spa day together. Spending time with others is really important when you have depression so you don’t isolate yourself, and this would be the perfect way to do that.
7. Find just one activity that you like to do in the winter.
I know this might seem like an impossible task. But it’s really important!
Winter sucks, and it’s easy to let your mind wander to where you think every little thing about winter sucks. That’s not helping you at all! You need to find just one small thing that you can do in the winter that you enjoy. (Seriously, it could be the smallest thing.)
I hate winter, but do you know what the ONE THING that I LOVE about it is?
I have some of the best memories from when I was little of sledding, and it’s still one of my favorite activities! It’s the only time that I will willingly put on 80,000 layers of clothes and spend all freaking day out in the cold.
And that helps me. It reminds me throughout the whole cold season that there’s something that I like about it. It stops me from dwelling on the negative, and I find strength in it.
What’s one thing you like about winter? That’s a very personal answer, and it could be something that nobody else ever thinks of! I wanted to give you some ideas, though, just to get your brain thinking:
- drinking hot cocoa
- building a snowman
- having a snowball fight
- going out to see Christmas lights
- playing with your dog out in the snow
- seeing the beauty of a fresh snow and how it literally sparkles
It really could be anything! Think about what makes you truly happy, and hold onto it.
Finally, I saved my favorite tip for last.
8. Surround yourself with yellow.
What is the exact color of happiness?
IT’S YELLOW, Y’ALL.
And I definitely don’t mean the ugly, mustard, construction yellow. I’m talking lemon yellow. Sunshine yellow.
Yellow represents the color of the sun, its brightness, and happier days more than any other color. It really just brings out the joy. I LOVE doing this around my entire apartment because it has aspects of summertime to me that I don’t find anywhere else while it’s snowing.
I have yellow salt and pepper shakers, and they are definitely the best thing in my kitchen.
Some great ideas for how you can add yellow into your home are:
- buy some lemons and have them on your counter
- get yellow post-it notes to use
- buy something decorative that’s yellow
- paint something yellow and hang it up
- find a yellow sweater from a thrift store you can wear
- print some pictures with yellow from the internet and hang them up
There are so many ways you can incorporate yellow into your life. Just look around! I promise it’s probably the happiest color there is.
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Now you can battle your seasonal depression like a champ!
I hope these 8 tips provide you with a great start to managing those negative emotions and getting though the winter. It can be a hard season! But it definitely doesn’t have to be.
Do you have another tip for managing seasonal depression? Share it below!
And don’t forget about the Mental Health Empowerment Facebook Group! Join it here!