Did you know that nearly 20 percent of the population experiences the winter blues? Sad, but true! As the days get shorter and the temperature gets colder, even the most preternaturally cheerful among us can start to feel a sort of lingering dissatisfaction. Luckily, there are proven ways to perk up when we’re dragging, having difficulty staying focused, or just feeling bummed out.
One reason we’re in lower-than-normal spirits during the winter is that all that darkness can mess with our internal clocks. However, a simple light box can reset our normal circadian rhythms and lift our spirits. Light boxes, which are 100 times brighter than regular indoor lighting, can be used while reading, working, or scrolling through Instagram. Just 30 minutes every morning can actually make a huge difference in your mood.
Studies have found that daily exercise can improve mild to moderate symptoms of depression. Now, having the winter blues is not the same as suffering from depression, but if 35 minutes of fast walking can improve the well-being of those with depression, imagine what it can do for people without depression. Plus, if you make a plan to meet a friend at the gym, you’ll benefit doubly, as socializing is another way to improve your mood.
Take a Whiff
Beat the winter blues by picking a perfume that smells like citrus. Scent has the power to influence our emotions, and research has shown that orange, lemon, and other citrus smells are effective at quickly reducing stress and anxiety. Look for a fragrance with citrusy top notes like Capri by Vince Camuto, which mixes pink grapefruit and pear with sweet florals.
Fighting against winter is a losing battle, and losing is always a bummer. Instead, try embracing the romance of the season by lighting scented candles, cuddling under blankets when binge-watching your favorite shows, and indulging in hot seasonal beverages. Feel extra cozy by wearing a warm wintery scent like Donna Karan’s Cashmere Mist and lots and lots of flannel.
It’s scientifically proven that music makes us happy—that is, music we like. Whether you prefer pop music, country, or hip-hop, listening to your favorite songs can boost your mood. Try making a playlist of upbeat tracks that can act as a portable mood-lifter.
When the winter blues are giving you a case of the blahs, use this list to quickly improve your mood and increase your productivity.