6 Tips to Put Aside the Winter Blues

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The leaves have fallen off the trees. Short sleeves are no longer socially acceptable to wear. Starbucks has stopped serving pumpkin spice. Winter is coming.

Unlike Game of Thrones, we will not see white walkers come and invade Dobbs Ferry; what is coming is even worse: seasonal depression.
Seasonal depression, along with being a bitch, can touch everything in one’s life.
Achy joints, cold weather, crappy Christmas songs, and the sun’s decision to go take a cigarette break until the spring, it’s easy to fall behind to the wrath of the cold, but with these six tips, it can turn your winter into a winner!

Get BIG!

 
Hit the weights, because it’s time to work out!
In the simplest sense, getting out of your pajamas and bedroom is already a good way to beat the winter blues, but the gym checks all the right boxes.
First, and perhaps most obviously, it helps you to get into
shape. I think we all know how quick the warm weather can come around, and it never hurts to get to work on not looking like total crap during beach season!
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Be like Hulk Hogan (without the racism!)

For people like me, who struggle to fall asleep, the gym also can really help to avoid those nights where you stay awake until 5 a.m watching That 70s Show reruns every night. It’ll make you use your stamina and make you want to go to sleep at appropriate times!
The gym can also serve as a nice social setting; even if one is just in the presence of other people, that energy can benefit oneself!

Try yoga.

 
Does this conflict with my last tip? Slightly. But let me explain.
Yoga to me is much more of a mental and emotional exercise than a physical one. While you’re doing stretches, which can be testing toward oneself, the benefits of it root more on the spiritual side.
Perhaps I’ve just gone full granola, but there is something about yoga that helps me take my mind off whatever dumb crap is bothering me at that point. It’s easy to sit in your problems when the weather is poor and it seems like there is constant darkness (literally and metaphorically,) but yoga seems to check all of those issues away for an hour.
And as a bonus, it’ll make you tone as hell!

Get out of the room!

 
I’ve already alluded to this, but seriously, get the hell out of your room!
One of my normal depression tips is to eat one meal a week outside. Judging that it is winter, that option is likely off the cards; but there are still alternatives!
Along with it just being unhealthy to stay in one setting for a long period, it can also get so boring. That boredom can turn into stress, which can then manifest itself in negative behaviors or even more sadness.
Even though we can’t go outside, it doesn’t mean that you can’t sit in the library or cafeteria or anywhere else. Just the change of setting (plus some sunlight) can ease the dullness that winter brings along with it.
If the weather isn’t too poor, talk a walk outside. If you drive, go grab a slice of pizza or something nearby. It doesn’t have to be magnificent and over-the-top to be effective with poor mental health, it just has to give some good vibes.

Get by with a little help from your friends!

 
This is the most realistic and important tip I can offer: be social.
For introverts, like myself, even seeing the word “social” can be exhausting. But seriously, it’s vital to remember that we aren’t alone in this wintertime sadness.
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This does not delegitimize the struggles you go through, but I find it very humanizing to realize that there are other people likely going through the same issues I am, albeit in different manners. Take the time to contact the people you love.
Friends, family, whoever, social interaction can not only pass the time during the infinite winter days, but you can reclaim the power; you don’t have to let the cold define you!
And you’d be surprised how often people want to make plans, but hesitate because of skepticism that their peers wouldn’t be interested. Be the one to make the change, you might just have a great collateral effect!

Pick up a new hobby!

 
This tip lends itself to so many possibilities. You do something cost-effective like write poetry or draw, or pick up and instrument, or cook!
Not only are you benefiting yourself to get past the winter, but you’re also just growing, which is an awesome thing to me!

Go to therapy.

 
I need to write an editorial about this at some point, but if you’re sad and don’t understand why, go to therapy!
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Even if there isn’t something “wrong” with you, still take the time to go! If you broke your arm, you would go to a doctor to fix it. Why not apply that same logic with your mental health?
We all have things to work on and improve upon. Therapy can be a great way to pave that path forward by working with a professional to help yourself.
For my Mercy students, the school offers free therapy for about eight weeks, which alone can help to transform you toward a healthier and better path. You won’t be “cured” but having someone to talk about the things that make you sad can be the first step onto a better road.
The winter can suck, but it doesn’t have to! Take the time to not fall trap to seasonal depression by being active and not falling complacent to your thoughts. It’s easier said than done, and there will be times where staying indoors sounds great, and it’s okay to take it easy, but too much can become harmful in the long run.
If you ever need help or have thoughts of self-harm/suicide, please contact 911 or the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. Things can get better, but the only way to find out is to be here!