Is anyone else starting to find winter a little overwhelming already? While not officially diagnosed with SAD, I’m not much for grey days and limited outdoor activities. Since we still have nearly two months of winter, I need to find ways to beat the winter blues. And let’s face it, they need to be free ways to beat the winter blues because we’re still motivated on our financial New Year’s resolutions.
At first glance, finding free ways to beat the winter blues might seem like mission impossible, but it’s not. In fact, the possibilities are endless – but they do involve using some creativity and a willingness to fight the urge to just curl up and watch TV…again.
So, let these 10 totally free ways to beat the winter blues be your initial jumping off point or inspiration. Mix it up with your own options, and you might find yourself pleasantly surprised by how quickly spring arrives this year:
Beat the winter blues with movement
My number one complaint with winter is the drastic reduction of my physical activities. Maybe some of us are just born to move more than others, but I absolutely need a physical outlet to stay mentally sharp. That shot of endorphins does far more for me than anything else, and winter really puts a damper on that.
Now that research has shown that even exercising can’t undo the damage from long periods of sitting, let’s just say I’m more dedicated than ever to increase the amount of physical activity I can get in during any day. Here are some of my new methods – all totally free:
- Bundle up – Being in the cold can be a bummer, but usually with the right clothing, it can feel just fine. Plus, you get the added incentive of accomplishment from not letting the weather get the best of you.
- Online workouts – Instead of just sitting in front of your computer or ipad, check out any of the free online workouts available on You Tube. Heck, try a different one every day. They’re free!
- Dance party – Never underestimate the power of music and movement. Throw on your favorite upbeat songs and dance like no one’s watching. A few minutes will get your blood flowing and is almost guaranteed to improve your outlook on things!
Beat the winter blues with company
Normally in the summer, when out and about, you have several interactions a day with other people. Hiding out in the house all day during the winter diminishes (or at least shortens) those lovely encounters. Fight back by creating new opportunities to engage with others in person. After all, social support curbs the sense of isolation that can creep in during these long winter days.
- Host a party – Invite people over for any number of reasons – coffee in the morning, lunch mid-day, or game night after work. Shake up your week by doing it on a Wednesday instead of the weekend. Even short encounters can uplift spirits.
- Start a club – If you prefer your social interactions to have purpose, start a club based on one of your hobbies or interests. Or go find one. Check your local recreation centers or bookstores for suggestions.
- Volunteer – Now is the perfect time to invest in others. Get involved with a cause you feel strongly about and notice how much better you feel every time you help out!
Beat the winter blues with your mind
- Plan your vacation – Seriously, think about your next trip and what you will do on it. Half the fun of any vacation is the anticipation of it. Break up your winter doldrums with a quick daydreaming session of the beach. Now is also a great time to find incredible deals for trips, so get to planning.
- Engage your brain – Read a book, try a new skill like painting, learn a new language. Just do anything that forces your brain to be active and you’ll be amazed at how much more positive you feel afterward.
- Meditate – Have you seen all the articles lately on how meditation affects your brain? It’s fascinating and inspiring! Try starting at a scant 3 minutes a day and build up from there.
Beat the winter blues with accomplishment
Sounds crazy, but by even cleaning out closets or doing a large re-organization of your garage your sense of achievement can be enough to beat the winter blues. Make a list of all your to-do items around the house and tackle them one by one. Every time you cross one off your list your spirits will lift.
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