I get the winter blues, and I get them pretty badly. I love winter—I like the cold, I like snow, I like the way your cheeks get all rosy when you come inside, I love hot chocolate and the excuse to bake without overheating the house. But I also get lazy, sleepy, and a little grumpy in the winter because the early sunset messes with my circadian rhythms. All I have the energy to do some days is to get out of bed long enough to make more macaroni and cheese. Here’s how to beat the winter blues without breaking the bank.
1. Let the light in. Open your blinds and curtains. Turn on as many bright lights in your house as you can. (If you’re using fluorescent or LED lights, this actually won’t raise your energy bill that much.) Keep a lightbox at your desk within your peripheral vision. Keeping your surroundings bright will keep you from getting drowsy and going to bed at 7 PM.
2. Go outside! Bundle up and bask in that crisp winter air. It physically feels good and it’ll improve your mood. Go for a brisk walk.
3. Take vitamin D supplements. The lack of sunlight in the winter doesn’t just affect your mood, but also your health: A vitamin D deficiency can make you lethargic and bummed.
4. Listen to bops! Upbeat music can improve your mood. I recommend “All Fall Down” by Matt Skiba and the Sekrets, “Black Magic,” “Move,” and “Word Up!” by Little Mix, “Girls” by the 1975, “Tie Your Mother Down” by Queen, and one song by Adele in particular—”Send My Love (To Your New Lover).”
5. Work out. It’s almost annoying how good working out is for you, isn’t it? I’m tired of hearing about it, too, but it’s true: Not only will you feel physically stronger and more energized, you’ll also sleep better and get a sweet endorphin rush to make you happier.
6. Be social. Call a friend. Go out for coffee. Have a potluck at your apartment. Being around others will make you happier and less dismal about the season. I promise!