Three Ways to Combat the Winter Blues

January 2021

Winter doldrums getting you down? You’re not alone. An estimated 10% to 20% of Americans experience mild seasonal affective disorder (SAD). You might experience fatigue or irritability, avoid social situations or just feel a general sadness. But you can banish those blues with a few simple steps.

Let there be light.

One of the causes of SAD is decreased exposure to sunlight during the winter. That’s where a “light box” can come in. Many people find that sitting in front of this bright light for 20 minutes to an hour can revive their spirits. Try it first thing in the morning as you eat breakfast and read the daily news.

Get moving.

Heading outside for a little daylight and fresh air is a fantastic antidote to SAD, but you can benefit from exercise even if you’re stuck indoors. That’s because exercise releases endorphins, sometimes called “feel-good” chemicals. Aim for 30 to 60 minutes a day of whatever exercise you enjoy the most.

Prioritize positivity.

If you are feeling down, it’s important to find activities that lift you up. Exercise can help, but you also might feel better after calling a friend, reading, doing yoga or listening to a meditation app. All of these activities can help improve your emotional well-being, which will make it easier to tend to the tasks of daily living and find joy in every day.

If you’re suffering from more than just the mild “blues,” be sure to visit your healthcare provider to discuss whether medication or treatment could help.

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