Winter Blues? 10 Self-Care Ideas to Boost Your Mood0 Comments
It’s that time of year again—there’s a chill in the air and it’s getting dark out earlier.
For many of us, the cold weather hits, and our mood takes a dip. Even things we usually enjoy can seem like a chore.
Cue the winter blues. And believe it or not, the winter blues are a real thing; it’s actually called Seasonal Affective disorder (aptly abbreviated SAD).
If you’re looking for a way to ward off the big SAD, a self-care routine is a huge win, but let’s be clear, this isn’t exactly what we mean by self-care:
last night i practiced self care by eating cinnamon toast crunch in bed and letting the sugar crumbs in my sheets exfoliate my legs— Isabel Steckel (@IsabelSteckel) December 11, 2018
This is a little closer:
Imagine taking a glass of water with you to bed and drinking it— Kevin Farzad (@KevinFarzad) January 27, 2021
Hey, to each their own. But in all seriousness, practicing self-care is about working healthy and productive mood boosters into your existing routine. In the winter, it can be hard to find and stick to the right pick-me-ups, but they can definitely make the colder months much more bearable.
A great post from our jump rope fitness community brought the topic to our attention:
We’re particularly fond of the top comment.
Seeing as we’re headed into the colder months, we’ve decided to answer the question above with a list of 10 self-care ideas to keep your mood, energy, and motivation up this winter.
- Listen to Upbeat Music
- Get Outside
- Stick to a Routine
- Check Your Diet
- Keep a Journal
- Take a Technology Break
- Learn Something New
- Let the Light In
Let's dig in!
If you want to get the feel-good hormones (serotonin and dopamine) flowing, you have to get moving. Exercise is one of the most effective ways to improve concentration, motivation, memory, and mood.
If you love a good, go-all-in workout, keep it up. But sometimes in the winter, it’s easy to go into full hibernation mode. It can be difficult to convince yourself to move around. Especially when it involves going out into the cold for your usual jog or walk.
The Crossrope app has over 600 full-body, HIIT, cardio, and strength training workouts for you to choose from, and plenty of quick workout options under 15 minutes.
Honestly, it’s impossible not to smile while jumping. But don’t take our word for it—grab a set of ropes and see for yourself.
2. Listen to Upbeat Music
Studies have shown that listening to music you enjoy can release the same happy hormones you get from exercise. So, if you’re looking for an easy pick-me-up to fend off the winter blues, good tunes and their mood-boosting benefits are a good place to start.
Not only can music make you feel better, but it can also give you the surge of motivation you need to power through the best jump rope workout you’ve ever had.
Some professionals refer to music as the ‘legal drug’ for athletes because of its ability to “reduce the perception of effort significantly” and increase endurance by as much as 15 percent.
3. Get Outside
We know what you’re thinking—why would you go outside when you’re trying to avoid winter?
Well, being outside is actually extremely helpful for combatting the winter blues. Sometimes you need to tackle the problem head-on.
When in nature, people actually find themselves in a more positive mood and have better cognitive function, memory improves, and the ability to focus. Some people also experience a boost in creativity.
If you’re in search of some effective (and cheap) self-care, spending time outside can actually help you tune back into yourself, slow down, and pay attention to different things, while letting go of others.
So, if you find yourself feeling down this season, do your body (and your mind) a favor and don’t trap yourself inside.
4. Stick to a Routine
It’s amazing how easily you can fall out of a routine, especially when you’re spending a lot of time indoors during the winter. However, sticking with a routine helps keep the mind occupied, makes us feel more in control of things, and reduces stress.
A sleep schedule is particularly important. Sleep is as important to our bodies as eating, drinking, and breathing. If you’re serious about creating a self-care routine to boost your mood, you should consider starting and maintaining a regular sleep-and-wake schedule.
Another great energizer is to create a morning routine that you actually enjoy and look forward to because winter is harsh enough without feeling like this:
I'm totally a morning person in the sense that I'm a person and mornings happen and there's apparently nothing I can do about it— Lyndsay Rush (@rushbomb) September 3, 2015
There are lots of ways to make your mornings more enjoyable. You can take some extra time to read a book or listen to a podcast, do a crossword puzzle, try a new recipe for breakfast, or do some fun jump rope exercises.
A morning routine allows you to start your morning with an intention, rather than letting the day run away from you. You control the day; the day doesn’t control you. This positive feeling of being on top of things creates a lasting effect on your entire day.
Meditation can have many health benefits, from physical to mental, and emotional. If you’d like to improve your focus, reduce stress, or combat the winter blues, you should give it a try and see if it’s right for you.
There are a ton of great apps for meditation and mindfulness (Core, Headspace, and Calm). There’s also a lot of great free resources on YouTube for guided meditations.
6. Check Your Diet
Feeling good has a lot to do with what you’re putting in your body. In the winter, we tend to crave heavier meals and comfort foods. So if you find yourself feeling down during the colder months, know that you can actually fight the winter blues with a fork.
Try incorporating more of these foods into your diet:
- Lean proteins
- Omega-3 fatty acids (think salmon)
- Vitamin b-12
- Vitamin D
- Complex carbs (beans, oatmeal, quinoa, potatoes, sweet potatoes, 100% whole-wheat bread)
- Berries (great for reducing stress)
- Dark chocolate
- Bananas (great for improving sleep + reducing anxiety)
Also, don’t forget to keep drinking water, friends! Seriously—if you’re reading this, hydrate right now.
7. Keep a Journal
Journaling is a great way to discover your thoughts, express your emotions, and look at the positive aspects of your life. If the winter has got you down, keeping a journal is a great self-care idea to check in with yourself daily.
Life Coach, Dana Humphrey, suggests using a journal to practice gratitude. A grateful heart attracts more joy, love and prosperity. The power of gratitude helps us to express thankfulness and appreciation, which impacts the overall experience of happiness. A journal is a great way to jot down blessings that come to mind and reflect on them later on. Make a gratitude list or simply repeat affirmations to yourself that ground you.
If you’re stuck on affirmations or have no clue what they are, here’s a bunch good ones to start your journaling process:
- I am allowed to take up space.
- All the answers I need are within myself. I trust my own intuition.
- I have the power to change anything in my life.
- I create my own luck.
- I embrace change with an open mind.
- I see the good in myself and my situation.
- My future is bright and filled with possibilities
- I am moving towards my goals with passion and enthusiasm.
Not only do affirmations make great journaling prompts, but they also make fantastic mantras for meditation if you’re planning on giving that a go.
8. Take a Technology Break
There’s no arguing that stepping away from screens is good for your mental wellbeing. The curated and seemingly perfect lifestyles you see on your feed can cause FOMO, and even leave you feeling lonely.
Powering down for a period of time provides the opportunity to reset and refocus appreciation and gratitude. Choose a specific period of the day to intentionally unplug from your phone. You could choose the first hour of the day or the last hour of your day, maybe you choose lunchtime or the hours just before you put your kids to bed, but the specific time is not important. What is important is the freedom you allow yourself when you power down.
9. Learn Something New
If you’re cooped up and feeling down during the winter, it’s the perfect time to pick up a new hobby! Learning something new creates a feeling of accomplishment and it keeps you busy. Bonus – learning something new can actually keep you healthy.
Learning keeps your mind engaged and body active. It helps you get new and knowledge-based perspectives on the world around you. It helps you gain new experiences, trains your brain to handle a wide range of challenges, and keeps your neural pathways active. All these factors combine to keep you healthy.
Pressed for ideas? Take up knitting, start scrapbooking, try drawing, get into YouTube yoga, or try a jump rope fitness challenge.
10. Let the Light In
The bottom line is that cold weather isn’t the culprit for dampening your mood. It’s actually light. When it starts getting darker earlier, you might not be getting enough sunlight.
The lack of sunlight is why getting outside and building a morning routine are featured in this list. During the winter it’s important to make an effort to soak up as much sunlight as possible to keep your spirits up. It can be as simple as getting up earlier than you do during the summer and stepping outside for a short walk. At the very least, make sure you’re opening the blinds during the daytime.
What’s Your Winter Self-Care Routine?
There are so many other great ways to take care of yourself in the winter, so we want to hear from you! What are some of your self-care ideas for beating the winter blues?
Drop a comment below about how you plan to keep your mood up in the coming months.