How I Deal With the “Winter Blues”

The National Mall Best Views - How I Deal With the "Winter Blues" by popular Washington DC blogger Alicia Tenise

Now that the holidays are over, your decorations are placed back in storage, and there are no more fun holiday parties and events to attend: are you feeling the winter blues?

For most of my life, I noticed that my mood would shift pretty dramatically after the holidays wrapped up, right until March/April. I found it hard to get out of bed in the mornings, I would let my personal space go into a state of disarray, and I found it incredibly challenging to stay motivated. A few years ago, I was formally diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder — which finally gave me some insight as to why I had the “winter blues.”
 
As someone who is a creative and a small business owner, SAD can be difficult to manage. Since I’m self-employed and I don’t have a supervisor watching my every move, this winter blues can negatively impact my career. During spring, summer, and fall, I would shoot out of bed at 7 am on the dot, log on to my computer, brew an espresso and get my day started. From January to March? I’m lucky if I make it out of bed by 9 am, and I have a hard time focusing on projects and creating a solid workflow. 

Over the years, I’ve learned to manage my winter blues, or SAD, and get back on my feet a bit. Here are a few things that help lift my spirits up during the dead of winter.

How to Deal with the Winter Blues: Get More Natural Sunlight

Since there’s less sunlight in winter, my biological clock is a little messed up during this time of year. In order for me to get up at a reasonable time during the work week, I have to sleep with my blinds slightly cracked open (no blackout curtains for me!) There are also alarm clocks out there that offer natural sunlight which I might try in the future, but so far, just having a bit of light peeking in my window has helped me immensely. 

Even though I work from home, I try to make it a point to get outside during the work week as well. Whether it’s to grab lunch, to walk over to the store for some errands, or meet a potential sponsor in a coffee shop, it’s good to get out of the house and be outside at some point during the day. 

How to Deal with the Winter Blues: Stay Social During “Hibernation Season”

Listen: my social life takes a nose dive during the winter because let’s face it: do you want to go bar hopping when it’s 9 degrees outside? Nope

I might not be out and about in town during the winter months. However, I love setting up FaceTime dates with friends or calling my family members. Winter is also a great time to take a class or two — I’m a big fan of wine/painting classes, and I like to try a new fitness class of some sort to break up my routine.

How to Deal with the Winter Blues: Unplug from Social Media

My job is all about social media. It’s easy for me to spend all day on the internet. Even when I’m sitting on my couch just trying to watch TV, somehow I end up scrolling through my Twitter feed. 

Consuming social media 24/7 can be overwhelming, even when it’s your job to do so. There are some weekends where I just like to unplug (take this weekend for instance) — I won’t make any new posts, and I wait a day or so before replying to DMs. I like to use that time read a book, to hang out with friends, or enjoy a day out with my boyfriend. 

How to Deal with the Winter Blues: Start Cooking More + Ordering Takeout Less

To be honest? I hate cooking. Like, a lot. However, during the winter, I’m home a lot more and have a little more time to prepare meals at home. I don’t like to go on a hardcore diet after the holidays. However, I do like to introduce vitamins and nutrients back into my diet and try out a few new recipes that I spotted on Pinterest.

How to Deal with the Winter Blues: Save, Save, Save

Winter is also hard for me as a full-time blogger because, to be honest, I make the least amount of money in Q1. While I still have some payments rolling over into the new year from the holiday season, I’ve always seen the least amount of blog sponsorships in January-March. Being broke can bum you out even further, so I use the time to get smart about my spending. I sit down every January and reevaluate my finances: am I spending too much with that credit card that has a crazy high APR rate? Can I cancel a subscription here? Can I cook more often and order takeout less?  

Do you suffer from SAD? What do you do to lift your spirits up?

20 Comments

  1. Shannon Paige wrote:

    Great points! I suffer from this too and talk about it on my blog. I never heard of those alarm clocks that’s cool. My sister has one of those light boxes and loves it. I hope you feel better- always hits me right after the holidays for sure!

    https://thegoodthingscomin.wordpress.com/

    Posted 1.2.18
    • Thanks Shannon! Those alarm clocks are next on my list since it’s been so snowy and dreary here!

      Posted 1.4.18
  2. Nicole Parise wrote:

    Some great pointers, I struggle with those as well! Enjoyed following your blog in 2017! Keep up the good work and Happy New Year to you!

    Nicole Parise – NicoleParise.com

    Posted 1.2.18
    • Aw thank you so much Nicole — Happy New Year to you as well!

      Posted 1.4.18
  3. Ruthie Ridley wrote:

    I love your tips here! Unplugging from social is so good and the natural sunlight is everything for me!!

    Posted 1.2.18
    • Yes — I’m trying to hard to be unplugged for a few hours a day for sure!

      Posted 1.4.18
  4. Natalie wrote:

    Such a great and encouraging list! I suffer from seasonal affective disorder too and I know that these things can definitely help.

    Posted 1.2.18
  5. I used to live in Minnesota and suffer from SAD. Many of us teenagers would go to the tanning booth to combat it, which is not the healthiest of choices. Now I live in sunny Tucson, so I don’t get it anymore.

    Posted 1.2.18
    • Tanning is an interesting solution! Can’t say I’ve done that ever, but gotta get over SAD somehow!

      Posted 1.4.18
  6. Anvita - TheBellyRulesTheMind wrote:

    I love the ideas you have listed here. keeping busy surely helps.

    Posted 1.2.18
  7. jessica wrote:

    these are great tips for people dealing with seasonal affective disorder, especially getting lots of natural sunlight.

    Posted 1.2.18
  8. Jenny wrote:

    Yes to this! I haven’t been formally diagnosed with SAD but I swear in the winter my motivation hits an all time low and I just want to stay in bed all day long. These are great tips to work towards combatting that.

    Posted 1.3.18
    • Amen — it’s so hard just to get out of bed sometimes!! Winter can be the worst!

      Posted 1.4.18
  9. Mary Gui wrote:

    haha i do the opposite during the Winter, i end up ordering more takeout bc i’m too lazy to brave the cold and go grocery shopping!
    http://www.layersofchic.com

    Posted 1.3.18
  10. Sara Nichols wrote:

    I’ve got major winter blues over here. Trying to cook more and eat at home.

    Posted 1.3.18
    • That’s a good way to combat it!

      Posted 1.4.18

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