Say what you will about that groundhog, his 2022 predictions were dead on. No matter where you are in the country, you’ve likely been experiencing the winterthatjustwon’tend. From February snowstorms to March forecasts that look a little too much like February snowstorms, you might be reaching your limit for cold temperatures, biting wind and the fluffy white stuff.
Take heart, cold friends. You probably have a case of the winter blues. According to Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, many of us feel a little more down and lethargic during the colder, darker months. And while the winter blues differ from seasonal affective disorder (a subtype of clinical depression), they’re not a walk in the park either. (Sidenote: a walk in a park sounds amazing, right?)
While you wait for the mercury to rise and the sun to start shining a little stronger (and more often), there are a few things you can do to shake the winter blues now – and enjoy the groundhog’s icy little gift.
Get out in the cold
A walk in a winter wonderland may only feel nostalgic and cozy in December, but getting outside anytime does great things for your mental state – especially during a particularly endless winter. In fact, according to Mind.org, spending time in nature can improve your mood, reduce loneliness, help you feel more connected, reduce feelings of stress and anger, improve your physical health and even improve your confidence and self-esteem. So whether you go for a walk in the woods, tend to that winter garden or simply read a book on the porch (spoiler alert: you’ll want a blanket), getting outside can help you feel more like yourself again.
Make plans with friends
It’s hard to feel bummed when your dance card is full – and the science totally backs that up. In fact, a 2019 study showed that social network structure – measured by inbound and outbound cellular phone activity – better predicted overall wellbeing and happiness than physical fitness data. Spending time with friends and loved ones can help you feel more connected and generally happier. Think about it; what did we all learn in 2020 and (and continued to learn through 2021)? We all need our people. So if you’re feeling down, make some plans with your favorite friends or family members – and follow through!
Brighten your surroundings
It might be cold, dark and dreary outside, but it doesn’t have to feel that way inside! In fact, channeling spring indoors is easier than you think – and is likely to add some much-needed sunshine to your soul. Find some spring-worthy plants or flowers and display them where you’ll see them often. And if it’s been a while since you’ve splashed some color into your kitchen, we’ve got you covered there too. Check out our new St. Patrick’s Day collection for some fun with greenery, or choose one of our timeless, oh-so-spring designs like our Not Forgotten or Thinking of You tea towels.
Get your heartrate up
If trudging through the snow or gasping in an arctic breeze isn’t your idea of a good time, well, we get it. But study after study proves that exercise is one of the most effective ways to ward off feelings of depression and anxiety – even if those feelings are weather-related. So while the weather outside might be frightful, there are still a host of options for getting your body moving and your heart pumping.
If you absolutely can’t stand the cold, look into joining a local gym and benefit from group fitness classes (bonus: this one can also help you fill your social connection cup). If you’re pressed for time or stuck at home with kids, a quick YouTube search will land you with a host of free, no-equipment-required workouts you can do from your living room.
Change it up
Sometimes, what feels like the blues is just a cry for something – anything – new and exciting (like warm weather!). You can lift your spirits easily by changing things up in your home, your closet or even on yourself. Rearrange your bedroom or living area, change up the artwork above your fireplace or bed, clean out your closet and buy a few new staple pieces or try out a new hair color or cut. While you might still be waiting for spring to arrive outside, you can breathe new life into yourself and your surroundings, regardless of the current temperature.
Remember, spring is around the corner. And as with every change of seasons, we can’t wait to show you what we have in store for the brightest and warmest months of the year – so stay tuned!