I know some of you in cold climates might laugh at me for complaining, but it has been seriously cold here in Israel lately. The past week it was below freezing in Jerusalem, and teetering just above it here in Tel Aviv. I personally hate cold weather, and it’s so much worse here because apartments are built out of concrete with no insulation or central heating. So while it’s pretty cold outside, it’s even colder inside.
As I said, I hate the cold, but that’s not the only thing I dislike about this time of year. At some point in the winter, I always find myself stuck in the doldrums. I know it’s not just me, and really its biological (see, for example, Seasonal Affective Disorder), but that doesn’t make it any easier. With short days forcing many people to arrive to and leave work in the dark, and miserable weather keeping people cooped up indoors, sometimes winter just kind of sucks.
But don’t despair. I scoured the internet and my own personal experience to come up with a list of the very best ways to beat the winter blue…aside from hopping the first plane to the Caribbean..which, let’s face it, would be the most effective:
- Get some Vitamin D
Scientists believe that one of the lead causes of Seasonal Affective Disorder and non-SAD general lethargy in the winter is the lack of exposure to natural light. Being stuck in work past sunset, cloud cover, and wintry weather all prevent us from getting the light we need. You can combat this by getting outside in the sun as often as possible, or, if you’re really prohibited from venturing out by bad weather (or, in the arctic circle, by the fact that sunlight is seriously limited), talk to a doctor and see if bright light therapy might be for you.
- Spend some time with your furry friends
Studies show that pet owners are happier than their pet-less counterparts. In fact, they’re also healthier, less lonely, and have greater self-esteem. So cuddle up with your animal friends and banish those cold weather blues. If you find yourself without a furry friend and you’re interested in getting a pet, be sure to check out sites like Adopt A Pet and Petfinder, which can match you up with animals near you in need of a home.
- Plan a trip
Scientists have shown the excitement from planning a trip is actually more enjoyable than the trip itself. I can personally confirm this one is true, since my excitement for our wedding travel and honeymoon to Jamaica is through the roof right now. Check out some winter deals on trips and immerse yourself in the planning. Read books or watch films about your destination, plan your travel wardrobe, and feel the joy of trip anticipation.
- Shop for spring and summer
Speaking of packing for trips, start shopping for warmer weather to remind yourself that spring is on its way (slowly but surely). Check out the biggest Spring 2016 fashion trends and figure out how to incorporate them into your wardrobe.
- Get moving
We all know that hitting the gym is good for your health, but it turns out it’s also good for your mental health. According to this article, psychologists believe that you don’t have to get active in an actual gym for the positive effects. Cleaning your house or walking your dog can have the same benefits.
- Be social
It’s easy to hide out in your warm home during the winter, but don’t turn into a hermit. Make plans with friends (and keep them!) to go out and do something. Nothing can cheer you up like good friends, but just being around other likeminded individuals can help improve your mood. Try signing up for a new class or try volunteering to broaden your horizons and get yourself out of the house.
- Start a project
Nothing get’s me energized like starting a new project. The researching, the Pinterest-ing, buying supplies – all of it gives me purpose, and purpose makes everyone happy. Whether it’s starting a blog or DIYing furniture, choose something and get to work.
- Have a date night
If there’s one thing winter is good for, it’s romance. Between cozy fires, ice skating, and a bunch of great movies coming out, the date night options are endless. Whether you stay in or go out, plan something sweet with your significant other and stay warm together.
- Get some sleep
Good news for those who feel like they just can’t get out of bed in the winter – you’re not lazy, it’s just science. A decrease in daylight means an increase in melatonin, meaning your body can’t help but be tired. Why fight mother nature? Hit the bed early and sleep in as late as you’re allowed. Why should bears be the only ones who get to stay in bed all winter?
Hopefully some of these tips will help cheer you up in the remaining months of winter. Let me know your favorite way to beat the winter blues.