The winter blues hit around the same time each year as daylight decreases and chilly weather rolls in. This results in less sunlight, less time outside, and more temptation to stay on the couch binge-watching Netflix instead of moving your body and cooking whole, healthy foods. 

Although we’re always down Netflix and chill (looking at you, Bridgerton), we’re also all about hacking your habits, actions, and environment to keep the healthy choice the easy choice and ensure you’re working towards your goals all winter long.

Beating the winter blues with the suggestions below may take a little effort, but they can make a big difference in your mood, energy, and overall health.

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Tips for Beating Winter Blues

1. Eat Fresh Fruits and Veggies

We’re a nutrition coaching company, so, of course, this is first on the list. The foods you eat directly impact your mood and energy. Focusing on whole, healthy foods as much as possible encourages your body to function optimally. 

Plus, you know how icky you feel when you “eat junk and watch rubbish” on the couch? It gets harder and harder to get up and move as you sink lower and lower. When you eat healthy, you’re more likely to make other healthy choices throughout the day (like moving your body, going to bed on time, and drinking enough water… wait, those things impact mood, too!)


2. Prioritize Sunshine

prioritize sunshine gifLet as much sunlight into your house as possible by throwing open your shades and intentionally sitting close to your windows. 

We also recommend getting in a walk (yep, even if it means putting on tons of layers!) once a day to breathe in fresh air and soak up some vitamin D, which is known for its positive impact on mood and energy. Think you may be low on “the sunshine vitamin”? Chat with your doctor about potential supplementation during the chilly winter months.


3. Get Enough Sleep

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According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information and the Sleep Foundation, “Depression and sleep issues have a bidirectional relationship. This means that poor sleep can contribute to the development of depression, and having depression makes a person more likely to experience sleep troubles”. Woof. Rough news, right?

Experiencing “the winter blues” isn’t as severe as diagnosed depression, but the mechanisms at work still stand. Aim to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night (please aim for closer to 8!) to keep your mood and energy high when the sun and temperature are low. These tips will help!


4. Pick Up a New Hobby

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It is easy to feel like time (and the winter) drags on when you’re stuck in your normal day-to-day. Take a class, learn a new skill, or get after that DIY project that will finally make your space what you want it to be. 

Learning new things makes you feel good and gets you excited to wake up every morning if you pick the right thing. (P.S. It is okay if you pick wrong the first few times. Just keep experimenting… that is part of the fun!)


5. Invest in Indoor Plants

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Become someone who puts “plant mom” (or dad) in your Instagram profile. Jk, please don’t do that. But, if you don’t have any houseplants yet, invest in some greenery. Not only do some plants help purify the air (win), but studies show that plants can help reduce cortisol levels and that just looking at pictures of plants can reduce blood pressure and heart rate. 

Have a brown thumb? Here is a list of hard-to-kill house plants. Go crazy (and, you’re welcome).


6. Pick a Few Hangout Spots

hangout spots gifGET OUT OF YOUR HOUSE. Whether you work in a coffee shop, hang at a friend’s house, or hit up the local diner owned by that cute baseball-cap-and-flannel-wearing-grump, getting out of your house can significantly increase your mood if you’re feeling “stuck inside.”


7. Dive Into Winter Activities 

Winter activities gifGo ice skating, skiing, or snowshoeing. Head to a local pond hockey tournament or snow plow parade (This is a real thing. Can you tell I live in Vermont yet?). Embracing and participating in activities unique to this time of year can help the season feel more fun and less monotonous.


8. Try Light Therapy 

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“Happy Lamps” really do make you happy (or at least, happier)! Take it from a used-to-be-skeptic. Bright Light Therapy (or, BLT, lol) has been studied and proven effective since the 80’s “and is now recognized as a first-line therapeutic modality” for seasonal depression due to its impact on circadian rhythm and serotonin (one of your “happy hormones”) uptake. So, it stands to reason that BLT also helps with winter blues.


Final Tips to Beat Winter Blues

Don’t underestimate how much these suggestions can add up and create meaningful positive changes in your mood and energy. It is easy to think, “five minutes outside can’t make that much of a difference,” and opt to scroll in bed instead, but we promise you’ll see positive changes in your winter blues if you give these a shot. 

What did we miss? What tips, tricks, and hacks have helped you beat winter blues? 

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