How to Stay Positive During A Gloomy Winter

I'm not going to sugar coat things–– my happy mood usually goes from 100 to 0 this time of year. There's something about frigid days and shorter temperatures that puts me into a mental downward spiral, but over the past few weeks, I have managed to claw myself out of it. Honestly, this has been my best January yet so far! I think the following things have really helped me turn things around.

Keeping a positive attitude
This sounds stupid and simple, but every year when winter rolls around, I automatically assume I'm going to be down and bummed––this puts me in a negative mood because I'm thinking bad thoughts and it amplifies the bad energy. This year, I have been telling myself that it's going to be the best! winter! yet! and it honestly has. Tell yourself that it will be ok repeatedly, and you'll start to believe it.

Do something good for yourself (at least) once a week that requires you to leave the house 
Work/school and your normal routine don't count for this. Instead of sitting on the couch or taking a nap, sign up for a new yoga class, go and get a facial, or treat yourself to a movie–– I just signed up for MoviePass and I am super excited for my subscription to start because there are so many movies I want to see! It's hard to get out of bed and get moving when the temps are below freezing, but you'll feel better afterward. Yesterday, I skipped my barre class and slept in because I was too cold to get out of bed, and when noon rolled around I regretted it instantly. I felt sluggish and gross instead of energized and inspired. Today, I made myself get up for 9:00AM cycling and I felt AMAZING afterward. Sometimes, you just have to push yourself to get moving and you'll build momentum from there.

Have a movie/lazy day
Contradicting my last point, sometimes it's good to just relax and stay in bed if you feel like it. Today, after cycling, I watched 6 episodes of This Is Us and it was just what I needed. I only got out of bed to drink a smoothie for lunch and have cauliflower pizza for dinner, and it was so blissful. There's nothing better than putting on long PJs and comfy socks when the temperature is in the single digits outside.

Try light therapy and Vitamin D Supplements
Fact: My favorite thing in the world is sunlight. I'm a huge fan. If you want to win me over, stick me on a tropical island in the middle of summer. In NYC from November - March, the sun hangs low and barely peeks over the buildings so you never really see it. I was on the phone with my mom the other day and walked through a patch of sunlight and started screaming from happiness and just stood in it for like 10 minutes. My mom and bystanders thought I was legitimately crazy, but it was the highlight of my day. Since the sun is scant during these months, I use my happy light and Vitamin D pills as substitutes. I don't know if they actually work, but I do feel better!

Give yourself fun things to look forward to
I booked a trip to the Bahamas with my best friend in May, and I am so excited. I am looking at it as a reward for getting through my first northern winter. I am also going to Winter Park, FL for my college alumni weekend in March, and it will be a nice little break from the chilly air here.

Exercise! Exercise! Exercise!
If I could give you one tip for turning your winter around, this would be it. I have worked out for 14 days in a row now, and I have honestly never felt mentally or physically better. Doing so has allowed me to lay the foundation for a good routine that I want to keep up all year. Elle Woods was right when she said endorphins make people happy. Even if you start out with 30-minute walks, you'll feel better, I swear. I have a gym in my apartment building, so I have been getting in hour-long workouts that allow me to binge my favorite shows while on the treadmill. I try to not watch TV unless I am on the treadmill, so it's an incentive for me to work out, especially since I am now addicted to This Is Us! My favorite workout right now is walking on the treadmill at a 5-10% incline and 3.7-4.2 speed for 45 minutes. It's a good LISS workout that won't leave you sore but gets the job done. I follow that with 10 minutes of abs/weights!

1 comment

  1. These are all great tips. My mood can definitely fluctuate during the winter, especially since it gets dark so much earlier. Thank you for sharing!

    Kendal // Life With Kendal