Dec 27, 2023 • 6 min read • By: Polly Clover

How to Beat the Winter Blues: A Daily Checklist & Practical Tips


Beat the Winter Blues & Feel Better (With Science-Backed Tips)

Are you dealing with winter blues and feeling down? You’re not alone, as this is common when it's cold outside or you’re experiencing a stressful or sad holiday season. In this article, we’ll share how to beat the winter blues to help you feel better in your day-to-day life.

Taking care of yourself with nature, warm baths or showers, and nutritious foods are a few ways you can combat the winter blues.

Below, we’ll share a daily checklist that can help improve your mood and overall well-being. We recommend taking notes or keeping this article handy to refer back to when you’re down and need a pick-me-up.

What are the winter blues?

The winter blues is a general feeling of sadness around the holidays and during fall and winter. Winter is often a sad season because there’s less natural sunlight. It may also bring holiday stress or sadness.

Unlike seasonal affective disorder, a more severe type of depression, the winter blues are usually linked to something specific, like the weather or stressful holidays, and clear up once the situation is gone. However, there are ways to speed up your recovery to feel better sooner.

How do you treat winter blues?

Although the winter blues are considered mild feelings of sadness, they can feel a bit like depression, causing a low mood and lack of motivation. To treat this and avoid seasonal affective disorder, you must take care of yourself, even if that means giving yourself time to simply rest and do nothing.

Treating winter blues can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Simple lifestyle changes can go a long way in boosting your spirits, especially when you incorporate a few self-care practices.

You can treat the winter blues with rest, supplements, light therapy lamps, fresh air, and movement. We’ll share more about the best ways to overcome winter blues below.

How to Beat the Winter Blues: A Daily Checklist

Beating the winter blues doesn’t need to be overwhelming. Incorporate as few or many of the practices below as you can. Some are easy to tie into your daily routine, while others are fun ways to find enjoyment.

back of woman who's facing the snow with her arms up weating a jacket, gloves, and hat
  • Take a warm shower (or bath).
  • Go outside during daylight hours.
  • Use a light therapy lamp.
  • Pamper yourself.
  • Eat nutritious foods.
  • Take supplements.
  • Get active.
  • Spend time with loved ones.
  • Create a healthy sleep routine.
  • Be kind to yourself.
  • Work with a professional.

Take a Warm Shower (or Bath)

Immersing your body in warm water is shown to reduce stress and anxiety. Your body naturally de-stresses during a warm shower or bath. The best part? All you have to do is relax!

woman beating the winter blues by taking a bath

Try to take a warm shower before you start your day, even if only for a few minutes, and again before bed. You can also take a warm shower in the morning, then soak in a warm bath in the evening. 

Take your bath or shower up a notch by using this uplifting herbal bath tea. Simply hang it under the faucet of running water or place it in your bath and enjoy the benefits of a revitalizing bath tea made with natural therapeutic ingredients.

Go Outside During Daylight Hours

One of the most common causes of the winter blues is a lack of sunlight. Natural light releases serotonin, your happy chemical, so your mood can be drastically affected when you don’t have access to that. Fresh air also helps relieve stress and anxiety.

If you can, incorporate exercise while you’re outside, too. If you’re short on time, include natural sunlight into your day by eating lunch outside or parking further back in the parking lot for a longer walk.

If you live somewhere cold, bundle up and get outdoors during midday, when it’s the warmest.

Use a Light Therapy Lamp

If there’s a lack of sunlight during winter where you live, consider using a light therapy lamp or lightbox for the same effect sunlight offers. 

This is one of our favorite ways to beat the winter blues because all you have to do is turn on your lamp and sit close to it for 20-30 minutes. You can easily incorporate this into your day and use it while getting ready, eating a meal, or working.

While using your light therapy lamp first thing in the morning can offer significant benefits, it can be even better if you can use it two or three times throughout the day.

Pamper Yourself

When you’re feeling down, a pamper session can be the perfect medicine. Try to make time for yourself at least a few times weekly, preferably daily.

Whether it be waking up a few minutes earlier or blocking off some time after work or before bed, it’s important to make self-care a priority. 

Oakwell Cosmetics gift box to pamper yourself and beat the winter blues
Oakwell Cosmetics gift basket

Ways to pamper yourself include:

  • Meditation or yoga - There are many free YouTube videos that can walk you through this.
  • Create a calming skincare routine - Use nourishing natural products and a smell-good, relaxing candle to show your skin some love.
  • Spend time with loved ones - Quality time with family and friends releases oxytocin, the love hormone that boosts happiness.
  • Take a bath - Relax in a warm bath while listening to your favorite playlist or podcast. Use the Oakwell Cosmetics gift basket to uplevel your bath experience.
  • Enjoy a spa day - There are many spa benefits, including sleep improvements, anxiety relief, and better mood.
  • Disconnect - Go offline to settle your mind and body. Use this time to rest, watch a movie, or enjoy a hobby.

Eat Nutritious Foods

The supplements we get from nutritious foods directly affect our mental health and mood.

Some of the best mood-boosting foods are those with a lot of protein (fish, chicken, beans, etc.), Omega-3 fatty acids (salmon and nuts), and good carbohydrates (vegetables and whole grains). 

Another great food to improve your mood? Dark chocolate. That’s right, cocoa dark chocolate has antioxidants that reduce depressive behaviors and negative emotions.

Take Supplements

Although including nutritious foods in your diet can be easy to do, some people have deficiencies that may require supplements. To determine if you have a vitamin deficiency and the best supplements to take, consult your doctor.

Get Active

Physical activity produces dopamine and serotonin, vital mental well-being chemicals. Exercise reduces stress and helps with depression or low mood. 

Try to schedule at least 10-30 minutes of movements per day with a fitness class, a walk or jog, or even running around outside with your children or pet. If you’re working with limited time to spare, even 10 minutes of exercise per day can make a significant difference. 

Spend Time With Loved Ones

One of the most fun and helpful ways to beat the winter blues is to spend time with loved ones. Social interaction is one of the most effective mood boosters as it helps us release the happiness chemical oxytocin.

Hang out with family and friends to relax, enjoy your time, and get your mind off your worries. Try to set aside some time every day to spend time with someone you appreciate being around, whether it’s dinner with your family or a walk with a friend. A phone call or video chat can also work on hectic days.

Create a Healthy Sleep Routine

A lack of sleep can cause irritability and stress, so if you’re already facing the winter blues, sleep is more important than ever. When you don’t get enough quality sleep, your circadian rhythm is disrupted, which can lead to mental and emotional distress.

woman sleeping with eye mask on

To create and stick to a healthy sleep routine:

  • Set aside 7-9 hours for sleep every night
  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day
  • Create a relaxing space for rest that’s also dark, cool, and quiet
  • Get active during the day
  • Avoid looking at screens right before bedtime
  • Don’t go to bed hungry or thirsty
  • Dedicate time to unwinding each night before bed

Be Kind to Yourself

Imagine if your closest friend was down. How would you treat them? You’d likely be kind and loving, but we often forget to do this for ourselves.

Moments of sadness or low mood happen to everyone, so give yourself love when it’s happening to you. This can come in many different forms, like patience, self-care, and positive self-talk. How can you be kind to yourself every day?

Work With a Professional

It’s not always easy or doable to beat the winter blues alone. While incorporating the above items into your daily routine should significantly, you may need support. 

If you’re using mood-boosting practices and it doesn’t seem to be helping, or you simply want extra support, consider working with a mental health professional

A professional can help you identify what’s bringing you down and create a plan that works best for you to feel better. Not to mention, it’s often refreshing to talk through your emotions with someone who cares and understands.

Beating the Winter Blues: Conclusion

We hope this article has you feeling inspired and ready to beat the winter blues, whether that’s with more time outdoors, spending time with loved ones, or resting.

If you can, take a moment to choose a few of these practices to include in your daily routine and decide when you’ll incorporate them. Not only will doing this help you prioritize and see that it’s possible to dedicate time towards well-being, but it’ll also help it feel more manageable.

Get started with overcoming winter blues and create a DIY spa session at home.

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