It’s winter, and I officially have the SADs. Seasonal Affective Disorder, aka “Winter Blues”, have hit me and I am draaaaagging. I’m not feeling as productive as usual, I’m sleeping in later and going to bed earlier, I always feel like something’s wrong and I often go days without human contact (which is also a function of being an entrepreneur and working from home – more on that later). I don’t have fancy scientific terms to explain why this happens to me every winter, all I know is it feels so wack.
But last week I decided I can’t live like this anymore. I will not let the Winter Blues take over! So I made some conscious choices to fight SAD this year. Here’s what I did:
1. Invest in some smell-goods.
As silly as it sounds, making my house smell like some of the vacation spots I want to be at made things much better. I have candles that smell like the Serengeti, a spray I got in Paris, and some essential oils that I drop into an oil diffuser from New Orleans. I even burn incense that remind me of Mexico. Making my house smell like heaven actually feels like heaven. I can lay back on my couch and relax, thinking about all of the good times I’ve had in places I love.
2. Book a trip.
Speaking of places I love, I’m ready to travel again! Booking a trip is obviously a luxury to most, but if you can afford it I say “do it”. Go ahead and get out of town, you deserve it.
3. Go. Outside.
It’s been proven that vitamin D and human contact can beat this thing. Going outside, even if it’s for a walk around the block, gets you the sunlight, the fresh air, and the socialization you need for the day. Ever played The Sims? They go nuts if you don’t have them go outside. Don’t be a Sim!
4. Pick up a new hobby.
To beat my blues, I’ve taken up home decor. I’ve become completely obsessed with it and it’s given me a serious boost. Just this week, I made an effort to get dressed and go to Target and Home Depot to get things for my home. It may not seem like much, but at least I got myself outside. I’ve also been cooking more and have lost some weight (which I needed to do anyway) because of it. Tackling new things – and actually accomplishing and finishing something! – gets the dopamine (responsible for happy feelings when goals are achieved), serotonin (released when you feel important), and endorphins flowing. It’s a win-win situation for all.
5. Dance like no one is watching.
Music is truly therapy. Whenever I’m in a funk, I turn on music that makes me happy *cues Bruno Mars + Cardi B* and shake it down for a good 30 minutes. Dancing a) is good exercise, getting the blood flowing through your body and b) a fun way to release some endorphins. And what makes you happier than channeling the memories of good times past? My early 2000’s playlist reminds me of all of the ridiculous nonsense I got into during my first years of college. Every time I hear chingy I crack TF up.
6. Have all of the dinner parties.
It’s really important to make time to be social during this season. I’m in the mindset where I’m not interested in standing on line at a club in a skimpy dress and heels in 20 degree weather and sometimes I don’t even have it in me to go out to a bar or restaurant and be around the general public. So I’ve taken to having dinner parties – roping in my newfound cooking skills, or honestly just ordering takeout and watching The Bachelor or re-runs of Greenleaf with my friends. We all save money, we’re warm, and if you drink too much wine you can fall asleep safely in the house! haha.
7. Watch what you eat.
Now, I am no stranger to comfort food – I love warm baked cookies and a tasty truffle ‘mac, but what you consume directly affects your mood. At the beginning of the season, I was eating chinese almost everyday and binge eating junk food because really, what else was there to do? About two weeks ago, I started having warm but good tasty WHOLE foods and my mood has changed significantly. I’m rarely having bad thoughts anymore, I’m sleeping better, and I’m tons more productive. Also helping? Water. LOTS of it. And if I have a hot cocoa or coffee, I make sure to follow up with water. I eat lots of greens, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, and berries and I’m chillin. The other comfort foods are totally fine but they make you super groggy immediately afterwards. Everything in moderation!
8. Let there be light!
Keeping blinds drawn is a surefire way to dampen your mood. If your place gets natural light, let it in. Pull your curtains back and open the blinds and let the sun beam in on your face. Living somewhere like NYC where sunlight is a luxury, you can also invest in daylight lamps and pretend to be on the beach. Not the same, I know, but people swear by it!
9. (No more) trapped in the closet.
Clean. Up. Your. House. Sis. Decluttering makes for a clean home but also a clear mind. Sort through those boxes of things in the closet, clear out those makeup bins (I see you, old mascara!), and hit the donation bins. Your community will thank you and so will your heart.
10. Choose happy.
Being in a rut isn’t by choice, but choosing to get out of the funk ultimately is. Try with all of your might to wake up and have a good day, and continue to work at it. It will surely take some practice, but putting habits in place has really worked for me. Choose happiness 🙂
honorable mention: SHINE TEXT
What’s the first thing you do in the AM? I know I’m looking at my phone. Now imagine waking up to a positive affirmation every single morning? Shine Text has been that for me for months now! It’s always so great to roll over and see something motivating – AND they give actionable steps to get you to the next level. I love, love, love it! You can sign up for it here if you’re interested.