With winter in full swing, and the holidays soon to be over, the darkest and, for some, the saddest time of the year is almost upon us. For many people, the dark and cold of winter leads to the winter blues. The winter blues are defined by feelings of sadness and mild depression. If you feel like curling up under a blanket with a hot cup of cocoa until spring, you are not alone.
You probably can’t afford to hibernate inside for several months, though. A better solution is to find ways to beat the winter blues. In fact, there are lots of things you can do this time of year to get yourself moving and your mind off the dark and the cold. Here are 10 ideas to get you started.
Take a walk in the sunshine.
Yes, it is cold this time of year. However, the sun is still shining (some days) and your body still needs Vitamin D. In fact, that all-important sunshine vitamin can help to regulate your moods and keep you feeling happier. Don’t let the cold stop you from getting a little bit of a walk in every day. Try to walk around the block during your lunch break. Take a stroll in the fading rays of sun before you leave work. Even just using a 15-minute break from work to head outside can lighten your mood (pun intended). You might be surprised how much of a difference a few minutes in the sunshine makes you feel.
Adopt an exercise routine.
During the summer months, it is easy to get outside and be active. The short days, gray weather, and cold of winter can make it harder to exercise. However, exercise releases endorphins, which make you feel happier. You need to exercise during the winter to banish the seasonal blues.
If getting outside to exercise isn’t possible, try an indoor exercise routine. Find an indoor swimming pool. Find an indoor skating rink (like a synthetic ice rink from Anytime Ice). Use a DVD or online exercise routine to do inside your house. Just keep your body moving and those endorphins flowing.
Have fun with your friends.
Just because the days or shorter and colder doesn’t mean you have to give up your social life. In fact, making and keeping plans with friends can be the perfect way to get your mind off the weather. You may just have to move your plans indoors. Go to your favorite bar or restaurant. See a movie together. Have a cookie exchange. Go ice skating. Invite some friends over for a dinner party. Anticipating the event, and then the enjoyment of the time together, will help to stave off the winter blues.
Listen to (the right kind of) music.
When the winter blues hit, you can chase them away by listening to music. A study conducted at the University of Missouri in 2013 found that listening to upbeat music could help to improve seasonal depression. An added bonus? All that cheerful music might just make you dance, and that can count as endorphin-boosting exercise. Sounds like a win-win to us.
Find a way to laugh.
Laughter is good for the soul any time of the year, but in the winter, it can really help you overcome the seasonal blues. Make sure to enjoy some laughter-inducing activities this winter. Our personal favorites include watching a hilarious movie, going to a stand up comedy routine, or even just hanging out with friends and family who make you smile. Even activities like ice skating (On our synthetic ice rinks) or spending time at a meal with friends can encourage laughter and lift your spirits.
When the winter blues hit, comfort food like hot chocolate, candy, and carbs can all seem like a good idea. Junk food, though, can actually increase your symptoms of depression. If you want to beat back the winter blues, try eating well this winter instead. Not that you can’t ever have hot chocolate or comfort food. Those things exist for a reason. However, choosing to load up on fruits, veggies, and healthy meats like chicken can make you feel better over the long term.
Helping others is scientifically proven to make you feel better. It can even help you to live longer. When it comes to beating the winter blues, helping others is a great way to take your mind off the dark and cold of the season and put your focus on something uplifting and fun. Find a soup kitchen to volunteer in. Head over to your closest animal shelter to walk some dogs. Reach out to a neighbor or a friend who is struggling. By taking the focus off yourself and putting it on someone else, you can enjoy a better mood even during the winter months.
The next few months are full of things that you can do to have fun and stave off the winter blues. You just need to be a little bit creative and committed to staying active. Here at Anytime Ice, we offer synthetic ice rinks, and other add on features, that are designed to keep you and a crowd busy and happy during the winter months. Consider adding our inventory to your community festival, neighborhood block party, birthday bash, or any other winter event. Since our rinks can be installed indoors or out, they make the perfect way to enjoy some active, fun events during the winter season.