7 Strategies to Shake off the Winter Blues

Winter blues

Winter can be a tough time of year. While the holidays can offer a break from our daily routines and a chance to celebrate with family, this season can also bring about feelings of difficulty and stress. The wintry weather, shorter days, and lack of sunlight can cause even the most upbeat people to feel down. But don’t despair! There are plenty of ways to brighten up those dark, winter days and make the most of the season of cold weather. Here are some simple things you can do to beat the winter blues:

  1. Laugh more

Laughing is a great way to keep your spirits up, and winter is the perfect time to do it. When the temperatures drop and the days are short, nothing quite hits the spot like a good comedy show or movie. Whether you’re watching a new release or an old classic, you’re sure to find something to put a smile on your face. If you’re looking for a classic to brighten your day, why not watch the early seasons of Seinfeld? It’s still hilarious, even years later. Plus, it’s always a bonus when you can quote your favorite lines from the show. But if you want to switch it up, there are plenty of other great comedies to curl up on the couch and watch.

  1. Indulge in a little dark chocolate

Some foods contain compounds that help you feel better when you’re down. Dark chocolate, for instance, contains magnesium, which is a natural stress reliever. It also contains flavonols, compounds with anti-inflammatory activity, which may be of benefit since depression is linked with low-grade inflammation. Plus, dark chocolate boosts serotonin in the brain and that’s favorable for mood. One survey compared people’s chocolate consumption with their depressive symptoms, and those who ate dark chocolate in the past 24 hours were 70% less likely to have depression.

So, if you’re feeling down, grab a bar of dark chocolate, take a break, and enjoy a delicious indulgence. Not only will it taste good, but it could help reduce your stress levels and improve your mood. Additionally, dark chocolate has been linked with other health benefits, such as improved heart health and brain function. So, the next time you’re feeling down, don’t forget to reach for the dark chocolate. Choose one that contains as little added sugar as possible.

  1. Add some light to your life

Light therapy is a proven way to improve mood. In the winter months, you feel less inclined to go outside and enjoy natural sunlight. So, bring the sun inside with a lightbox.  A lightbox will expose your eyes to wavelengths of light that will lift your spirits without going outside.

Also, don’t forget about the benefits of opening the curtains and letting natural light in. Natural light helps set your internal biological clock and circadian rhythms in a way that’s beneficial for mental health. So, don’t forget to open those curtains and let the sun shine in! A few minutes of sunlight each day can make all the difference in your mood and can even help you sleep better at night.

  1. Discover the joys of snow.

Don’t let a cold, snowy day bring you down. Snow is a beautiful winter sight, and it can be fun to play in. Whether you’re building a snowman or just making snow angels, frolicking in the snow is an effortless way to spend time outdoors and get exercise. Haven’t ridden a sled in years? Give it a go! It’s a way to get outdoors, get natural light, and exercise.

  1. Cuddle with a pet

Cuddling a pet is a wonderful way to beat the winter blues. It’s easy, it’s free, and it feels great for humans and animals. The benefits of spending time with a pet include:

  • Relaxation – Being close to a pet releases oxytocin into your bloodstream, which makes you feel relaxed and happy.
  • Stress relief – Research shows spending time with pets reduces stress. No wonder! They live in and appreciate the moment, which is something humans should learn to do.  If you’re already stressed about something or someone else is stressing you out, having a pet around can help.
  • Entertainment – Interacting with a pet provides entertainment and joy but also exercise. People who own pets are more physically active than those who don’t and having a pet is motivation to stay active even when the temperatures drop.
  1. Wear bright colors.

Wearing bright colors can be a terrific way to cheer yourself up in the winter months. Bright colors are associated with happiness and sunshine. When you wear them, it’s like putting on a pair of virtual sunglasses that block out the darkness of winter. You might also notice that people are more likely to smile at you when they see a bright color peeking out from under your coat or scarf–and this will boost your mood even further! Put on something bright and colorful even if it’s only a scarf.

  1. Exercise

Regular exercise is one of the best ways to combat the winter blues. Exercise releases endorphins, which can make you feel happy and relaxed. It also gives us more energy and improves our moods — so it’s worth making time for exercise even if it’s just a short walk each day. Keep strength training and doing exercise that elevates your heart rate. It’s one of the best prescriptions for chasing away the winter blues.


Winter only sticks around for a few months, but while you’re waiting for spring, try some of these tips for keeping the winter blues at bay. Remember, winter won’t last forever, and before you know it, sunny days and blooming flowers will be here to greet you.


  • “Ease seasonal affective disorder with exercise routine | BCM.” 09 Nov. 2022, bcm.edu/news/ease-seasonal-affective-disorder-with-exercise-routine.
  • “NIMH » Seasonal Affective Disorder.” nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/seasonal-affective-disorder.
  • “Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) – Diagnosis and treatment – Mayo Clinic.” 14 Dec. 2021, mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20364722.
  • “Chocolate May Help Boost Mood I Psych Central.” 11 Nov. 2021, psychcentral.com/disorders/chocolate-and-mood-disorders.
  • “Dark Chocolate for Depression – Psychiatric Times.” 05 Sept. 2019, psychiatrictimes.com/view/dark-chocolate-depression.

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