During winter, aside from the weather being miserably cold, the days can be very gloomy and dark (literally), which can have a serious affect on your mood. If you find yourself feeling down during this seemingly ever-lasting season, you’re not alone. The winter blues are common, and additionally, an estimated 10 million Americans have Seasonal Affective Disorder. The form of depression, also known as SAD, is a recurrent major depressive disorder that involves episodes of depression at the same season each year.
According to Psychology Today, treatment for symptoms of SAD include combinations of antidepressant medication, light therapy, Vitamin D, and counseling. Regardless of what your personal situation is, there are several things you can do at home to boost your mood during winter. Home should be a happy place, and somewhere that cultivates good feelings and mindset for you. Here are some ways to help kick the winter blues right from home:
Light Your Favorite Candle
The right scent can help your state of mind, and according to research from the Association for Psychological Science, floral scents boost feelings of happiness. So, burn that rose-scented candle you love, or even treat yourself to some fresh-cut blooms.
Make Your Bed When You Wake Up
Gretchen Rubin, author of the best-selling book, The Happiness Project, says that the happiness-project resolution that’s made the biggest difference in readers’ happiness is often “Make your bed.” It’s a nice start to a productive day, and after a long day of work (and braving the cold), coming home to a made-bed is the best feeling.
Display Photos Of Favorite Memories (Maybe From A Tropical Vacay?)
Nostalgia can go a long way, it turns out. Researchers from Loyola University report that thinking about good memories for even 20 minutes a day can make people more cheerful than they were a week before. Frame some of your favorite photos from your last vacation, or family event (if those are fond memories for you). Each time you pass the photo on your dresser, or hanging in the hallway, it’ll jog your memory of happy times.
Use Mirrors To Maximize Natural Light
According to interior designer Lane McNab, the first step to feeling happier at home is creating a “soothing, light-filled environment.” She told MyDomaine, “Find ways to accentuate the natural light you have available (where possible). One of her tricks to maximizing that bit of sunshine? “Try using strategically placed mirrors, across from a window with a beautiful view or in a dark corner to brighten it up…This is especially important if you’re susceptible to the winter blahs.” Alright, then—mirrors it is!
Get Some Greenery
Aside from adding life to a room, plants absorb toxins, purify the air, and can actually reduce noise levels. Even better? They’re a mood-booster, too. “Plants relieve stress and make a home seem more cozy,” says Christopher Satch, head of plant science and education at The Sill.
Use A Light Therapy Alarm Clock
Getting out of bed in the morning is hard enough, but when the weather is gross, it makes it even more difficult. There are different lamps and alarm clocks you can get that provide sunrise simulation that help you wake up feeling more refreshed and happier. The Phillips Wake-Up Light, for example, has a colored sunrise simulation and a light that gradually increases 20 to 40 minutes before your alarm goes off. The company says the Wake-Up Light is proven to wake you up with “improved mood and energy level.”
Get A Jump Start On Your Spring Cleaning
Take a cue from Marie Kondo, and start tidying up! You’re likely spending a lot of time inside anyway, so why not be productive while you’re at it? Decluttering, reorganizing, and deep-cleaning will not only give you different tasks to focus on, but once you’re finished, you will feel refreshed and accomplished.
Paint A Wall A Bright Color
Psychotherapist and wellness expert Jenny Giblin, MFT, told Prevention that though you may not be able to control the weather, you can control your own environment. Try painting a wall in your home a fun, brighter color, or hanging cheery artwork.