Firstly, I just want to say that you are not alone! This has been my first winter in the Netherlands and... Wow, I did not realise the level of freezing it got here. I come from South Africa which has the perfect weather- it is almost always sunny and we have epic heat year-round. So moving here and experiencing this dull, grey weather was a complete letdown. I needed to figure out a way to get out of this depression, and fast!
So if you've been feeling down and like you are stuck on autopilot to get through this winter then this is for you. Here are my top 10 tips to beat the depression this winter.
10 Tips on How to Beat Winter Depression
1. Make a list of hobbies
Figuring out things that make you happy is a priority. Make sure you know what hobbies you enjoy and try to make time to do one of these each day. Schedule in this time so that you don’t skip out on it. They don’t have to be massive projects but just something fun that makes you happy is the perfect start.
2. Create a bedtime and morning routine
Getting enough sleep is essential to allow for good hormones to be released. While the sun is down, take advantage of getting early nights and resting well. Creating a bedtime routine will help you to get into bed at a good time and ensuring you get your nightly chores done to allow for restful sleep. It can be quite tough waking up early in winter knowing you have beat the sun with waking up by about 3 hours, so having a morning routine can help you to jump out of bed. I have found that the best way to wake up is to organise for something that excites you. This can be your favorite song being your alarm ring tone or a new breakfast to make. Find something small that makes you want to jump out of bed in the mornings.
3. Take your vitamins
I thought people were talking nonsense when they said I should take vitamin D. When winter rolled around and I started feeling really moody and depressed, I started to understand why they said that. I had never had a lack of sun before so taking vitamin D sounded crazy. But when I started taking a multivitamin that was high in vitamin D, I noticed how my mood improved as well as my energy levels. It is vital to get your vitamins in for your body and hormones to function properly, especially during winter.
4. Use this time to chill
If there’s a sunny day outside you best believe we’re gonna be out there soaking up each ray. So in the summertime, we feel guilty to waste the day indoors. It’s the perfect excuse to stay inside and chill out with this weather and do all the things you otherwise wouldn’t do in summer. Organise your pantry or your closet, startup that crafting hobby you’ve always wanted, watch a whole series on Netflix - whatever makes you blissful!
5. Get creative with your wardrobe
It’s very easy to get in the habit of throwing on whatever clothes are comfy and warm. While this is great to do every once in a while, you don’t want to get into the habit of doing this every day. You still need to feel sassy and chic and winter is actually the ideal time to do this. You can layer and wear scarves and beanies and play around with the clothes that are too hot for summer. So pull out those beanies and scarves you’ve shoved to the back of your cupboard and start jazzing up your outfits.
6. Move your body
Just because you’re layering up and not showing off your figure, doesn’t mean you should neglect your gym routine. Even if it’s a light pilates exercise, just make sure to get a bit sweaty and move your body. When you exercise you release endorphins which are hormones that make you happy. And imagine beating winter depression by losing some weight and getting healthy? Hello, summer body!
7. Have a DIY SPA day
What is a way to feel instantly better? Giving yourself the beauty treatments you deserve! Take these days to buy yourself some fun DIY face masks, bath soaks, salts and creams to lavish your skin. You don’t have to splurge on fancy spas, treat yourself at home and make it something special. Put on Breakfast at Tiffany’s and enjoy a good old chick night with face masks.
8. Organise group activities
Find some fun things to do with your friends and organise it on one day a week. Quiz Night at a bar, pottery or art night, board game night- whatever tickles your fancy. This will force you to get out and do something fun. Organising it with friends and not just telling yourself that you will do it alone sometime will ensure that you don’t delay it. It will give you something fun to look forward to in the week.
9. Enjoy the seasonal foods
Winter calls for a range of veg that is not as available (or cheap) during summer. Be creative with the range of stews, soups, and bakes you could make. The foods you eat don’t have to be boring! Nourish your body because summer is coming and you want that body ready.
10. More time at home = more me-time
It’s really important to take time to reflect on yourself and organise your thoughts. This is a great time to spend mornings in bed with some coffee and a journal and just jot down all your thoughts and feelings. Imagine who you want to become and what you can do to get there. This can be the planning phase of getting started with your dreams.
I hope these tips have helped you! If you have any other ideas or tips which you think could help beat the winter depression, I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below :)