Baby, It's Cold Outside.

5 ways to make it through the winter without the blues.

By: Camesha Jones

As soon as the temperature drops and the sun hides itself for most of the day, a feeling comes over me that lets me know winter has begun. A Chicago winter is like no other. Once October finishes you know that you won't see warm weather again until May - which can put a damper on the most upbeat spirit. Winter has never been something that I have gotten use to - but it's something that I have learned to manage better with time. When I first moved to Chicago, I was physically shocked by the brutal wind, days of snow, and frigid temperatures during Winter. My mind was shocked too. I slept more than normal, felt disheartened every time I stepped outside, and my best company became my laptop and Netflix.


After my first Winter, I had an idea of what to expect and began to find ways to still enjoy my life without being overcome by the 'Winter Blues' - also known as SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) causes someone to experience a lack of energy, feel depressed, tired, and lose interest in enjoyable activities. Most people experience SAD at the onset of the winter months with it subsiding around the spring and summer season. After going through one Winter of a serious case of SAD, I found ways to feel uplifted and vibrant during the Winter.


Here are some of my special tips on how to make it through winter without the blues:


1. Stay Active: Spend time doing activities that get your body and mind moving. You can do activities that are indoors such as working out at the gym or even take the fun outdoors and go ice skating. Keeping your mind active involves doing tasks that keep you productive like writing, reading, and doing odd jobs around your home.


2. Maximize Light: With less sunlight, it makes the days feel shorter and gloomy. Finding ways to bring light into your space can liven up your mood. You can open your blinds, turn on bright lamps in your home, and even get a light box.


3. Socialize & Form New Relationships: Many people think of the summer time as primetime to meet new people, but this can also happen in the winter. Make efforts to get out of the house and mingle at social events or even join a meet-up group to have recurring activities to keep you busy.


4. Bring Outdoor Sanctuary Inside: Adorning your space with what brings you joy outside into your home can create a refreshing atmosphere. You can purchase candles with your favorite scents and even change the color scheme in your home to reflect a bright, relaxing space.


5. Create a Daily Mental Wellness Regimen: Create daily reminders to keep your mental wellness in tip-top shape such as going to therapy regularly, journaling, meditating, and eating healthy. There are great apps like Shine, Calm, and Headspace that provide great reminders to care for your mental well-being on a regular basis.


Getting through the winter is no easy task but with the right practices in place, you can make it a delightful time of the year.


What are some of your favorite things to do during the winter? Sound off in the comments.

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