3 Ways To Beat The Winter Blues

Winter Blues are A Real Thing

You’ve heard of the winter blues, right? During winter, people start to feel down. We have less energy, we feel less happy, and we eat more ice cream and get super fat. Or maybe that last one is just me. This isn’t just something we imagine, though. Winter blues is a documented psychological phenomenon. We call it Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), and more than ten million Americans suffer from it.

What Causes The Winter Blues?

To back up for a moment, not all cases of winter blues are Seasonal Affective Disorder.  SAD is a more extreme version of the winter blues. The exact causes are not fully understood, but it relates to changes in light levels and how this affects the production of serotonin and melatonin in the brain. It most commonly affects people already struggling with depression and bipolar disorder. It also has influences from family history and is more commonly seen as you get farther from the equator.

While not all cases of winter blues are full-blown SAD, they’re still a real phenomenon, and the anxiety and depression we feel is very real. While the exact causes of SAD aren’t fully understood, it’s clear that light plays an important role.

a woman sitting a table experiencing the winter blues
Photo by Cottonbro

What Can I do About It?

Good question. Fortunately, there’s ways to deal with it. For genuine cases of SAD, there are treatments, such as light therapy. If your winter blues are super strong, check with a doctor to find out if these treatments might be necessary to help you. Whether you have SAD or not, the following are things you can do to help with the sadness.

1. Brighten Things Up

The big thing for winter blues is the need for more light. Light helps regulate hormones in your body and also helps absorb Vitamin D. Portland Sprinklers and Lighting talks a lot about the benefits of landscape lighting for improving the value of your home, but it can also improve the quality of life in that home. Good lighting will brighten things up around the yard and in the house. That extra light will help tell your body to keep regulating itself properly. You can even install full spectrum lights to simulate sunlight to further aid your body in this process. Upgrades in automated home lighting can even help you manage this better by controlling exactly how much light you get and when you get it.

2. Make The Most of the Light You Get

A big part of brightening up your home is managing light as well as adding more. You can’t have your lights running all the time. This would be a massive increase to your electricity bill. If you want to brighten up your home without spending too much money on electricity, you need to manage what light the sun naturally provides.

One way to do that is by repainting your home. Brighter colors catch and reflect light better than darker colors. If you want to get the most out of the natural sunlight, then you should have any rooms with windows painted brighter colors to reflect that light into your house. Furthermore, certain colors are naturally comforting to the human mind. Picking the right colors for your home can not only maximize the natural light, but also make you feel happier and more comfortable. If you want to know more, WebMD has an article on color psychology that gives solid advice for picking colors that help you feel good in your home.

3. Deep Clean Your Home

The reason you want to feel good in your home is because stress can adversely affect your health. The reverse is true, as well: poor health is stressful. If you want to make sure you feel happy in your home, you should make sure you feel healthy in home. For that, a deep clean is recommended. Not just casually wiping down the tables and counters and a quick vacuum, but a full, systematic cleaning of your home. Have your carpets professionally cleaned to get rid of any caked in dirt and grime. Have your air ducts cleaned out so you’re sure they’re pumping fresh air. Use CDC approved chemicals to clean every regularly touched surface to make sure you kill of disease causing bacteria or viruses. Reorganize your rooms, dusting off shelves and cleaning out closets. The more cleaning you do, the healthier your home will be and the better you’ll feel. This is no small job, so get the whole family in on it. Hiring a professional cleaning service might also be helpful. It takes a bit of work, but trust me, the results are more than worth it. You’ll be surprised by just how much better you feel after it’s all done.

Feel Good, Be Happy

Staving off the winter blues is a major concern for a lot of people, now more than ever. With fear over the virus outbreak still a major stress for millions of Americans, the winter blues are going to be really bitter this year. If the winter gets you down, then now’s the time to do something about it. Improving your lighting to maximize the natural light and add full spectrum artificial light, and giving your home a full, deep clean will help your body regulate itself and stay healthy. With just a little effort, you can keep yourself feeling upbeat even through the dark and cold of winter!

Cover photo by Andrew Neel.