Beating The Winter Blahs
Don’t Let The Season Get You Down
February 5, 2016 by Mark Dye
Whether it’s something as simple as not liking cold weather, or something more serious such as Seasonal Affective Disorder, winter can be a tough time for many. This can be especially true of kids, who might be bored being stuck inside all the time. (The parents might be feeling a bit of cabin fever, too.) So here are a few things that might help you kick the winter doldrums.
Get some sun
Being out in the sun isn't just nice, it’s also a key for good health thanks to the Vitamin D your body produces when you get sunlight. Of course, this is tough when the skies are gray or you're wrapped in so many clothes that the sun never touches your skin. There’s also places like Alaska that get almost no real sunlight during the winter months.
If you can’t manage to get it the natural way and are having a hard time this winter, consider getting a lightbox. (You can get more information about them at the Mayo Clinic’s website.) Prices vary from around $80 to more than $300, and you can set it up next to your desk to get your 30 minutes of Vitamin D-boosting rays a day.
Still get your exercise
Sure, shoveling your driveway might not be fun, but it gets you moving, so don’t just put it off (though do consider an ergonomically designed shovel to save your back). If you don’t need to shovel—or would just prefer to do something a lot more fun—sledding is a great choice. Not only is it a good time and something you can do with the kids, the repeated hiking back up the hill is a good way to get the blood flowing.
Live somewhere where it’s cold but doesn’t snow that often? Not a problem—load up a workout video from YouTube, do jumping jacks or push ups or sit ups, or even have the kids do some “laps” around the house. The whole idea is to make sure you don’t hibernate on the couch all winter.
Winter is the season for comfort food, which usually leads to many people packing on a few extra pounds. The problem is that we’re people, not bears, and don’t need the extra fat to last us through the winter. All the extra weight can also make you sluggish and feeling down.
Save yourself from a mad dash in Spring to lose all that winter weight by making sure to eat right during the winter months. Try to avoid things like candy and high-carb foods, as they only give you a temporary boost in energy and mood. Focus instead on foods that are rich in B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and our old friend Vitamin D. All of these can not only help you keep in shape, but can also improve your mood.
Turn off the TV
Kids already sit in front of screens too often according to many experts, and it can be worse in the winter. And let’s be honest—adults can be just as bad with their smartphones.
One way our family has solved this is by having both a game night and a reading night. (And, yes, this includes us, the parents.) Getting lost in a book can be just as good as getting lost in a movie, and family game time—or even putting together a puzzle—is a great way to bond.
Or, you could have family coloring time. In fact, coloring has proven to reduce stress, which might explain the recent explosion of coloring books just for adults. (NOTE: Searching for “adult coloring books” will provide some … interesting results. Instead, search for “coloring books for grown ups.” Trust me on this.) Whatever it is, just turn off the screen and get engaged.
You can build a snowman indoors. And, no, it doesn’t involve bringing in actual snow and ruining the living room carpet. It can involve craft foam, Styrofoam cups, or even cotton swabs. It’s a fun and inexpensive way to get into the season without stepping out into the cold.
Create a blanket fort, indoor obstacle course, or mystery game where you hide something around the house and give the kids clues on where it is. You could even set up an indoor campsite (and, if you have one, use the fireplace to make s’mores—just make sure to use real wood, and not an artificial log). The goal is get them moving and engaged, and it can be a lot of fun for you, too.
These are just a few ways you can have fun inside no matter the weather outside.