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Tips for managing the winter blues

Updated: Feb 5

Brrrr! It’s cold outside. And dark. And sometimes rainy or snowy. This time of year, it is not uncommon to feel down.

You might find yourself:

  • Feeling sad

  • Feeling tired or low on energy

  • Having a hard time concentrating

  • Eating differently (like craving carbs)

  • Not enjoying things you normally enjoy

If you experience any of those symptoms, try these tips to give yourself a mental wellness boost:

  1. Move your body. You can do a workout. Or you can also simply dance, walk, clean, bike, hike or anything else that gets you moving. A little exercise helps produce endorphins, your body’s natural mood boosters.

  2. Get some fresh air and sunshine. Breathing fresh air can help raise oxygen levels in your brain, which helps with mental clarity, while sunlight triggers the release of serotonin, which regulates mood.

  3. Stay social. Studies have shown that hanging out with others can benefit overall mental wellness. Spending time with friends and family is not only fun but also good for you!

  4. Look inward. Mindfulness and meditation offer you a chance to slow down, reconnect with yourself and find balance, all of which can help improve your outlook.

  5. Eat well and get plenty of sleep. Your mental health is directly tied to your physical health. Good nutrition and sleep nurture your body, which, in turn, can nurture your mind.

  6. Pick up a new hobby or activity. Sometimes, having too much time on your hands can contribute to feeling down. Having a few fun hobbies can help you relieve stress and relax.

  7. Embrace the season. Find a new winter activity, take a cold walk or enjoy the calm before the busier summer months. And keep in mind that spring is just around the corner!

Learn more about all the mental health resources available to you in the MNPS Mental Health Resource Guide.


Winter blues or more something more serious?

With winter blues, symptoms generally last less than two weeks, are usually mild and don’t interfere with your daily life. Making simple behavior changes, like the ones above, can alleviate symptoms.

But sometimes, these mood changes are more serious and can affect how you feel, think or behave. If you’ve noticed significant changes in your mood or behavior with the season change, you may be experiencing seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

If you or someone you know is showing symptoms of SAD, talk to a health care provider or a mental health specialist about your concerns.


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