Winter begins tomorrow – 9 Strategies to Help Boost Your Mood During the Winter

Winter begins tomorrow - 9 Strategies to Help Boost Your Mood During the Winter
Winter begins tomorrow – 9 Strategies to Help Boost Your Mood During the Winter

Between the pandemic and the winter, it is normal to feel a bit down and anxious at this time of the year. If you have an autoimmune disease, like me, the symptoms can get worse and cause even more distress. Even the most optimistic and happy-go-lucky among us may be feeling a little moody as the days get shorter and shorter.


But fortunately, it’s pretty easy to bring some much-needed satisfaction into your life right now. In fact, you probably have everything you need at home to help boost your mood. Just try one of these uplifting strategies from Real Simple to help you relax, unwind, and find a little joy right now, and you may find that the long months ahead seem a little more manageable.


1 Make an easy-to-achieve goal (and complete it)


Many of the hobbies and activities we love—like yoga classes or language classes—are open-ended, with no finish line in sight. But it might help you feel better to pick a smaller goal that has a definite (and satisfying) ending. Try things like cleaning out a closet, learning to play two songs on the ukulele, or getting caught up on photo albums. You’ll get the good feelings of tackling and finishing it, and the surge of energy that comes with completing a task.


2 Prep what you’ll need to make fall and winter better


Now’s the time to start stocking up on things that might make the winter more wonderful for you, such as items to make your home comfier, cozy patio heaters or fire pits to make outdoor get-togethers doable, or a large-screen TV to make movie nights on your couch at home more epic.


3 Get some early morning light


As the days get shorter and colder, the seasonal affective disorder can be an issue. You can help stave off the winter blues with exposure to sunlight, especially that early morning light. Just a 15-minute morning walk outside (even if it’s overcast) can help you improve your focus. Bonus: That vitamin D can also help boost your immune system!


4 Engage your senses


Indulge in a bit of eye candy—or better yet, something that smells wonderful. People are tapping into their sense of smell now. Scented candle sales are through the roof, but any good perfume—a bottle of vanilla, maple syrup, pumpkin spice—works.


5 Make a happy playlist


Upbeat music can really help you feel better, so go ahead and put together a playlist of songs that can act as a pick-me-up. And choose a song that you love as your wake-up alarm. Just be sure to rotate it out after a while, so you don’t start to get a Pavlovian response to the song if you have a hard time getting up in the morning.


6 Do something good for someone else


Giving to others always makes us feel good—and you’ll be helping to brighten someone else’s day too. Rubin suggests offering items you’re decluttering from your home on a local freecycle group or helping to make introductions for people—in a time where people are looking for connection, it’s always great to help people meet a potential new friend or colleague.


7 Make a slight home improvement


If you’re still working (or working out) from home, it’s probably long past time to upgrade your setup, whether you want to splurge on a standing desk instead of using your kitchen table or invest in some new workout equipment. We need to make ourselves comfortable and work well in our home environment.


8 Pet a furry friend


If you want an instant pick-me-up, pet a dog or cat. My dog certainly makes me feel happier any time of the day when he comes closer. Everyone’s hungry for touch, and petting a dog or cat is such a soothing thing. If you don’t have a pet to snuggle with, head out for a walk—there are probably a few puppies being walked right now outside your door that would be happy to let you pet them for a few minutes.


9 Declutter painlessly


Lots of research shows that better organization helps you feel happier at home, but that doesn’t mean you necessarily have to commit to spending long hours scaling back your closets and book collections. In fact, it may be as simple as committing to a minute at a time. It takes so much energy to clear clutter, but if it takes less than a minute to do, you should do it without delay—whether it’s filing a document or bringing your dirty coffee cup back to the sink. It doesn’t feel like it’s a toll on your energy or time, and it gets rid of a scum of clutter. And that can be very energizing.

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