Health & Wellness Articles

10 Cool Ways to Beat the Winter Blues

Keep Your Energy High and Mood Lifted

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5. Avoid Binge Drinking
Staying in with a cold beer or a nice glass of wine may seem like the only thing to do in the winter months, and many people who feel down also tend to turn to alcohol when they’re feeling down. But alcohol is actually a depressant, and rather than improving your mood, it only makes it worse. Avoiding alcohol when you are already depressed is a good idea. Moderate drinking is fine for most people, but binge drinking (defined as having 5 or more drinks in one sitting) is never a healthy choice. The morning after will have you feeling sick, depressed, and even more tired, which will affect many aspects of your life. This will make your low energy and bad mood even worse. 

6. Treat Yourself
Having something to look forward to can keep anyone motivated. Winter seems endless! But if you plan something exciting, your mood improves when you’re anticipating it and when the event actually comes. Plan something that’s exciting to you—a weekend trip, a day at the spa, a party (but keep #5 above in mind), or special event like a play, girls (or guys) night out, or sporting event. 

7. Relax!
You’re busy! Work, class, family, friends, appointments, meetings—even if you enjoy being busy, everyone needs some time off. Don’t be afraid to say "No" to extra opportunities (covering a shift for a co-worker, bringing food to your son’s class party). Try to spend a few minutes each day doing nothing! Read a book or magazine, sleep in on the weekend, go to bed early, try some meditations, or take a yoga class. Relaxation, especially in the form of yoga, can alleviate stress and leave you with a calm energy. Mental exercises like meditation and positive thinking can help keep depression at bay. 

8. Embrace the Season
Instead of always avoiding the cold and the snow—look for the best that it has to offer! Take up a winter sport like ice skating, snowboarding, hockey, or even sledding! Enjoy these opportunities while they last—after all, they’re only here a few months per year. Staying active will boost your energy. Seeing winter in a positive light, with all the fun activities that it has to offer, will keep your spirits high. 

9. Get Social Support
Don’t underestimate the power of friends, family, mentors, co-workers, and neighbors. Who can you turn to when you’re down and need a pick-me-up? Keep a mental list of these special people and don’t be afraid to ask for help or encouragement when you need it. Something as simple as a phone call, a chat over coffee, or a nice email or letter can brighten your mood. 
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About The Author

Nicole Nichols Nicole Nichols
Nicole was named "America's Top Personal Trainer to Watch" in 2011. A certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with a bachelor's degree in health education, she loves living a healthy and fit lifestyle and helping others do the same. Her DVDs "Total Body Sculpting" and "28 Day Boot Camp" (a best seller) are available online and in stores nationwide. Read Nicole's full bio and blog posts.

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Member Comments

  • I wish I could walk normally again but because of spinal osteoarthritis I walk a little ways almost every day but not like I used to but then again I am 70yrs old now and my health is not as good as it was even a few years ago.I used to get excited about the coming day now everyday is just like the last,what saves me is my love of creation and I am a fairly good artist and do love making my jewelry and will probably buy another kiln so I can return to being a potter which I miss.Right now we are just renting but hope to buy another home next year.Depression is a problem for both DH and myself.I do exercise every day on my elliptical and may start working out with other exercise equiptment. Walking every eve.after I do my elliptical helps me even if it is only around my short block. - 12/24/2013 3:24:15 PM
  • I had surgery late last fall and my surgeon told me that as part of the recovery, I needed to walk outside EVERY day. And so I do, even if it is cloudy. I think that being outside and the (hopefully) fresh air is important. I especially make it a point to take advantage of the days when the sun is out...even if it is cold. - 12/24/2013 1:10:17 PM
  • Overall, good suggestions but the part about sleeping is a little contradictory. Under the Relax paragraph it says to sleep in on the weekend but the last section on sleep says to get up at the same time. Getting up at the same time is the generally accepted suggestion.
    - 12/24/2013 12:45:26 PM
  • I love to walk in the winter as long as know snow around. Great aarticle. - 10/7/2013 10:32:19 AM
  • Finding time to walk outdoors when the sun is shining has always been a part of my winter strategy for staying up in the winter.. but not taking on more than I am able to accomplish is another... Full spectrum lights on my desk really helps too...
    High spirits... - 12/18/2012 12:43:59 PM
  • I still love going for a walk in the winter if its not too cold and if its a crisp , sunny day. - 8/10/2011 8:31:10 PM
  • KAKIPOPUP
    And celebrate the snow, if you live in a climate that supports snow - it reflects the available sunlight and improves your mood - get out and walk, ski, snowshoe, ice skate on a pond surrounded by snow - just make sure to protect your eyes from the reflected rays -

    I love the snow! - 2/25/2011 8:50:32 AM
  • This is a terrific article! Thank you for reminding me of all these great helpers when I get SAD. I do take issue with one statement, though: " the CDC showed... Women who exhibited healthy behaviors (like exercising, not smoking, etc.) had less sad and depressed days than those whose behaviors were less than healthy". If you are feeling sad or depressed, you are not going to be motivated to lead a healthy lifestyle. So, the cause and effect might be backwards, or the CDC could have misinterpreted their findings. It's all subjective, isn't it? Anyway, I use a soft lamp on a timer to help wake me up in these darker winter months. It really helps! - 1/30/2011 3:17:35 PM
  • BACKONTRAK
    Great article...so many choices! For me, my favorite is taking the snowshoes out on the local golf course. Did that this past Sunday for sixty minutes and it was exhilarating! - 1/18/2011 8:33:11 PM
  • Excellent article! People always say things to me like, "I can't wait for winter to be over",and my response is, "as long as we have snow I love winter!". I cross country ski, sled with my kids, snowshoe, and play in the snow as well as having fun teaching my children different winter sports. I can walk out my door and take advantage of trails and snow fun, so I try to make it a daily habit! That being said, winter can be a downer when there is no snow and then I find planning a retreat or trip is the best way to go as far as breaking up the winter months. We try to find a deal at an indoor water park for January or February for a overnight and that helps... - 1/18/2011 2:45:09 PM
  • Winter Blues... I am not giving old man winter the satisfaction this year....Definatel
    y a grea article and I plan to re read it througout the cold weather months. - 12/12/2010 4:05:19 PM
  • I've been demotivated & "blue" for a week now cuz i sprained my ankle & wasn't allowed 2 exercise & subsequently i got sloppy with my food + winter is here & it's super cold & windy & dark ............ :( well at least i know why i've been so depressed! Thanks! :) - 12/11/2010 1:51:43 AM
  • LAVANDA20
    Thank you for the article.
    My husband has arthritis and we go to Tenerife in the Winter for a couple of weeks every year where we stay at http://www.ritz-t
    enerife.com in a nice villa - and it not only helps on his arthritis but both of us gets a more positive mind and attitude towards almost everything. - 12/6/2009 6:31:29 AM
  • LIVINGONMYTERMS
    Thank you for this article. It is a keeper to re-read. - 11/12/2009 5:44:31 PM
  • Great reminder to re-read! - 11/12/2009 10:13:11 AM

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