10 Ways To Beat The Winter Blues

It's that time of year where the frigid cold, grey skies, cabin fever and false hope Spring days have us feeling blah.  Or as the case was when I lived up North in much more extreme conditions...full on depressed.  Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD is no fun for anybody, and I feel twinges of it even here if the grey and cold goes on for too long.  Over time I have learned that there are some things you can do to help get you through these last few weeks of Winter {with your sanity intact}. Here is my list of survival methods that will help you get through, if not embrace the rest of this Winter season.

1. Practice Self Care
Winter means less sunny days, which means less Vitamin D and more suffering skin. The air is desert dry and we are reluctant to shed our layers of warm clothes. These factors can leave you feeling like a bit of a hibernating bear. Take a warm bath infused with epsom salts, spend time exfoliating and finish off with a thick layer of moisturizing natural oil {I like coconut oil or cocoa butter}.Try to make it at least a weekly ritual. Which leads me to #2...

2. Eat Nourishing Foods
Embrace the flavors of the season and take comfort in Winters bounty. Beets, Winter Squash, Carrots, Turnips, Rutabagas, Parsnips, Leafy Greens, Celeriac and Citrus are all in season. Nothing is more warming {and simple} than throwing together a big pot of stew. These veggies are all packed with the nutrition our bodies crave in Winter. I try to inject as many of them as possible into my meals before the season changes.
Then because it's very difficult to get the vitamin D we need from the sun in Winter, I'm a believer in the occasional trip to a tanning bed. 10-20 minutes a month can make a huge difference in how you feel and it's no different than a full afternoon at the beach damage wise. Just keep it short and sweet!

Winters Vegetable Bounty

3. Surround Yourself With Scents & Steam
Humidifiers are not just for kids rooms and the inhalant reservoir is not just for Vicks.  Hippie Hack- Get yourself a humidifier.  Then choose a mood elevating essential oil such as ylang ylang, sandalwood, clary sage, frankincense, neroli, bergamot or lavender and put it in the 'inhalant reservoir' {what a terrible sounding phrase, I know}. Plug in next to your bed. You will then be surrounded by beautifully scented, moist air. Which will do wonders both for your alligator skin and mood.

4. Buy Yourself Flowers
I make an effort to do this every week in Winter. Stargazer lilies are my favorite.  It you feel wasteful throwing them away when they wilt, buy a flowering potted plant instead.  Or try your hand at forcing bulbs indoors. I did Paper Whites last year and they were so much easier to grow than I thought they would be {and fragrant!}. Tending a little indoor flowering garden on your windowsill is curiously satisfying. If you have a window in your bathroom, it is the perfect location for happy plants in Winter.

Bright Florals

5. Cultivate Knowledge
Instead of thinking of it as being stuck indoors, think of Winter as a time to do things you otherwise maybe wouldn't make time for.  Get out your art supplies and try some new techniques,  pick up that book you've been meaning to read.  Work on your foreign language skills.  Watch those films/documentaries you've been wanting to see for ages.  There are online classes to be found on nearly every subject imaginable, many of them are even free.  If you're stuck inside, you might as well make the best of it!
This is also a perfect moment to start planning for Spring. Use this time of rest to prepare your thoughts around your garden plans, creative projects, home improvements & travel plans. Looking forward to positive things always makes me feel good!

6. Play That Funky Music
Keep some music on hand at all times. I have certain albums that I know will transport me to a better place the moment I press play. Dig out your favorite records, make some new playlists. Just do whatever it takes to have music ready to play. I'm always a huge fan of reggae and salsa in Winter. Especially when it's getting dark and I'm making dinner. It just makes the night brighter.

7. Snuggle Up
Welcome the cold for the chance to pile on the comfy layers and snuggle up.  In Winter I have an entire collection of cozy throws that I take out and spread around the house.  Extra pillows, warm sweaters, knit socks, toasty slippers.  Invest in your cozy arsenal and it will invest in you.  This year because we have newly added wood floors, our living room is not the coziest in Winter.  To battle the chilly atmosphere, I created a pallet out of a foam bed topper wrapped in a giant cotton Indian tapestry to snuggle on in the evenings. It was supposed to be a one night thing for New Years Eve, but now we look forward to busting out the nest every night. We toss the pillows and blankets on and snuggle up. It is so worth the 5 minutes of effort it takes to set it up each evening.

8. Take A Walk
As hard as this is to do when it's freezing cold outside, it's SO important to continue to spend time outdoors.  Even if it's only one short, brisk walk a day, there is nothing like moving your body, smelling fresh air and getting some rays {even if they're fighting their way through the clouds}. If you can take a walk around the block, do that. If you can make it to the park or for a rural hike, even better.  Just bundle up and move ya' body.

Winter Paths

9. Drink Warm Liquids
Make sure you have ingredients on hand to prepare a steaming cuppa somethin'. You gotta stoke the fire inside to get moving some days. I love me some Chai tea. Green tea, herbal teas, hot chocolate or turmeric milk/golden milk all warm you up and can have benefits for your health as well. I stay away from too much caffeine because I find it contributes to anxiety and depression.

10. Candlelight
If you have a wood burning fireplace then I don't have to tell you about the healing power of a roaring fire in the hearth.  Not all of us have this luxury obviously, but we can create a cozy fire lit ambiance just the same.  Keep lots of candles and tea lights on hand to light up the night.  I love to gather several candle holders all together on a brass tray to create a twinkling and warm feeling. Rooms automatically feel more welcoming by candlelight!

That about sums up my list! Can ya'll think of anything else I'm missing? Please let me know in the comments so we can share our methods!

Note: A lot of these things may seem like no brainers, but when you're already feeling down, it's easy to forget about the things that will help elevate your mood. The key is to stay motivated and remind yourself often. I would even go as far as writing out the list and posting somewhere until Spring. Or leave it up...much of this list is great for boosting moods all year round!



  1. How here in Northern MN we need these reminders. Shared this post...Thanks so much Andrea!

    1. Sheri, glad I could help! Thank you for the share! <3

  2. Anonymous2/26/2015

    Good suggestions! A pot luck supper with friends works too.

    1. Yes! Excellent idea, staying connected is always an excellent route to happiness!

  3. I actually love the winter....but that's mainly because I don't know what it really is, living down here. :)
    Yesterday, however, the gloom could test one's spirit.

    1. Haha! You make me laugh. Yes, the gloom does test my spirit. But I hardly ever consider it gloomy in New Orleans...rather it's just another way in which the city can be lovely <3

  4. Great Ideas, still 5 feet of snow on the ground here. It makes a huge difference if we get out and play for an hour in the snow! We bundle up and out we go!

    1. Yikes, 5 feet! Epic snow forts are in order!


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