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Chase away the winter blahs

Published January 11, 2013
sad girl looking out window

URBANA - Gloomy days and fewer hours of daylight may lead to winter blahs, but this dreaded condition can be avoided or minimized, said Rachel Schwarzendruber, a University of Illinois Extension family life educator.

“Here are three suggestions to help brighten the winter days,” she said.

 1.    Stay active. When you’re busy with something worthwhile, you’re less likely to feel confined by the cold and snowy weather. Begin by identifying a number of indoor projects that you’ve been intending to do. Choose jobs that will give you a sense of accomplishment or satisfaction when they are completed. Smaller projects may be the most satisfying because they can be completed in a matter of hours. Listen to your favorite music while you are working.

 2.    Catch up with your friendships. Communicating with others on the phone or through email can make you feel less isolated. If the weather isn’t too threatening, invite close neighbors over for coffee, dessert, or a simple meal. Lively conversations and good food can help reduce the gloom of winter.

 3.    Exercise. It is tempting to sit around or sleep longer than you should on gloomy days. Regular exercise gives you greater resistance to stress, anxiety, and fatigue, not to mention improving the condition of your heart and lungs. Indoor malls and community buildings are great places to walk. Have a friend join you. Check out local fitness facilities or exercise classes.

“Don’t sit back in a gloomy mood and wait for spring to come. By working at beating the winter blues, you can get tasks accomplished, enjoy visiting with others, and improve your fitness.  Spring will be here before you know it,” she said.