The temperature today with the windchill reads -33 degrees Celsius. Tomorrow, it’s going to feel like -45. Eventually, things are supposed to return to ‘seasonal’ temperatures, but until then we’ve got some cold weather tips for you!
Disclaimer: The winter blues are not the same as seasonal affective disorder or depression. None of the tips here should, or can replace appropriate professional support.
The point of this article isn’t to convert you to a winter loving, cold weather enthusiast. But we’re hoping there are some options out there that don’t leave you marathoning Netflix all day and all night. Okay, maybe just a few nights, because Netflix has gotten us through some dark times.
Tip #1: Chase after that sun!
One of the biggest reasons we feel so lethargic and have low energy levels in the winter is because we’re not being exposed to enough sun to formulate vitamin D in our body. Some ways to combat this: open the curtains and position yourself in a well lit room. If you live in a basement suite, or your house doesn’t have a lot of sunlight coming in, make a plan to visit a cafe, store, or restaurant every week where you can grab some of those rays.
Other ways to stimulate vitamin D production: taking vitamin D supplements, and investing in a sunlamp (like this one we found on Amazon), or a wake up light alarm clock, which simulates the sun filling your room, instead of waking up to a dark space.
Tip #2: Exercise
Yeah, we said it. Exercise is good for your mental health in every single way. But it doesn’t have to be an intense gym session to get those endorphins flowing. Consider starting your morning with a dynamic stretch session, or a yoga video you can find on YouTube. Sneaking movement into your day doesn’t have to be tedious, just a few minutes can do wonders!
Tip #3: Nutrition
What do we do when the weather outside is frightful and the Netflix is delightful? We order in. We make casseroles. We reach for the chips, and we settle in for the night. Let’s face it, in Saskatchewan during the winter, we’re not just eating to stay alive, we’re eating to cope. Winter is hard, and delicious food makes it better! We’re not saying that you can’t enjoy a satisfying meal, but get in touch with your body and see what it’s craving. It likely wants a salad every now and then, too. Processed foods and refined sugars can actually worsen symptoms of depression and anxiety. So if you’ve been feeling low, check out your fridge and see what might need to go.
Tip #4: Pick up a new (or old) hobby
Often our social calendars are left pretty empty after the holidays have subsided, or even if we do have plans, we just can’t fathom the idea of going back out into the cold after we get home for the day. Many of us wind up feeling isolated as a result. If you’ve got some extra time on your hands, consider picking up a new hobby, or finishing that project that you never got a chance to complete. Working on something new, or completing even a seemingly small task (think printing out your vacation photos) can give us a feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment that we’ve been longing for.
Tip #5: Get outside
Yes, it’s cold. Yes, it’s dark at 5 pm. Yes, the air hurts your face. But sometimes the best thing to do in this cold weather is embrace it, even if it’s just for a 5 minute walk around the block. Make sure you bundle up tight and keep yourself as warm as possible, and then get out there! It’s going to be brisk, but embracing the cold can actually be good for us! And imagine how thankful you’re going to feel when you make it back inside your house.
Tip #6: Make everyday tasks easier on yourself.
If you find that you’re avoiding tasks like getting gas or groceries because of the cold weather, take the easy option. Go to a full service gas station, or order your groceries online and pick them up in your car. Many of these services are available at your local grocery store and they charge less than you would think.
If you have any other tips or tricks we’d love to hear them! Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And as always, trust yourself in knowing when you might need additional support. These tips may not work for everyone, and there’s nothing wrong with reaching out for help.