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5 FREE Ways To Beat A Winter Funk

5 free ways to beat a winter funk

Guest post by Dereth

I tend to struggle with motivation in the winter — especially this winter. In fact, I recently searched for Crystal’s post: 4 Guaranteed Ways To Wake Up More Excited About Your Day when I realized I rarely wake up excited through the winter.

I think for me, it’s a combination of lack of sunshine, snow days, and just needing to open up some windows to let a fresh breeze in!

Whatever the reason for your winter funk, I have found 5 simple (and FREE) ways to beat it –I know I notice a big change of my mood and motivation when I try even a few each day.

1. Get enough sleep.

Crystal talks about this a lot… and I completely agree. Try keeping track of how you feel after you sleep to determine how much sleep you should get (I like using this daily sleep diary printable). I find that if I make sleep a priority in my life, my days will be much more enjoyable — no matter the season.

2. Get basic housework out of the way by 9 am.

If you work outside the home try getting it done by the time you leave for work. If I do this, I’m not spending all of my day dreading an unpleasant task. I just do it first thing and I don’t have to think about it anymore.

For me, this these tasks include: starting laundry, wiping down the bathroom, dishes, and a 20 minute pick up.

3. Do one small activity you love every day.

Make time to do it each and every day — even if it’s just 15-20 minutes! Whether it’s listening to music, doing crafts, doing a crossword puzzle, or taking a hot shower — fit it in.

I like to write. When I take time to write in a journal or do a writing exercise for 20 minutes, I feel like I’ve given myself a gift.

4. Choose your entertainment wisely.

This is huge for me. I tend to hibernate with a good book or TV show on Netflix until it’s finished. Doing this can put me in a black mood for days because my reality seems dull in comparison! What I read and watch matters to my emotions.

5. Have meaningful conversation every day.

Whether in your own home or outside of it – the need to make connections with other people is part of what makes us human. Take time to talk to people, ask meaningful questions, and really listen to what the person has to say.

You might have noticed eating right and exercise didn’t make my list. I don’t know about you, but when I’m in a funk it’s difficult to be motivated to make nutritious meals and get moving.

Think of this list as beginner steps to taking care of yourself. When I am doing my best to incorporate this list into my day, exercise and eating right seem much easier.

How do you combat a winter funk?

Dereth Atkins is a stay-at-home mom trying to figure out how to balance life with three active kids. She enjoys trying new recipes, advocating for children with disabilities, reading, and playing board games as a family.

photo credit

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  • Jody says:

    Dereth, I really enjoy your writing style. Thanks for the great list and the practical examples!

  • Maranda says:

    Great advice! 🙂

  • Whit says:

    Turn on all the lights as soon as it starts getting dark, and open all the blinds to let natural light in. Cook your favorite meal for your family. Have Pandora/your favorite music playing in the background while you prep!

  • Lana says:

    Taking D3 is a great way to combat the need for sunshine. D3 is the vitamin we lack when we are not getting enough sunshine and as a plus research shows that it combats getting the flu better than the flu shot.

    • Roma says:

      Yes to D3. Lack of this vitamin causes depression, fatigue, muscle aches and much more.

    • Lety says:

      Vitamin D chases away the blues, too 🙂 Which makes sense since the reason many people who have seasonal depression is the lack of sun during winter months. I didn’t know about it keeping the flu away! That must be the reason I hadn’t been ill for several years until just recently.

    • Maureen says:

      You can also get a light box, which helps those with Seasonal Affective Disorder.

  • I make lists (especially lists that I can cross things off of). They make me feel organized and productive in a time of ho-hummery and blah.

  • Lety says:

    Thank you for these great suggestions! I will definitely be putting them to use, as it seems winter is not quite ready to end in my corner of the world. 😉

  • Kimber says:

    I’ve found that lighting a candle, putting on some perfume, or applying some nice lotion is a great mood boost. I love the way a nice scent can make life seem a little bit better!

  • Deb Meyers says:

    Up North… must get outside and breathe some fresh air daily, put my face in the sun if it is available. Even just walk to the mailbox!

    I find GOING OUT for a fresh salad or veggie smoothie makes a huge difference. For under $10 my daughter and I shared a big salad and Beet smoothie today. The tendency to eat too many sweets and bread has a very negative effect on my mood. It actually seems to create depression.

  • These are some great ideas- may favorites are doing housework before 9am and then doing something you love each day! Winter can be long, so I love this post. I wrote a post regarding this topic as well.

  • Karen says:

    Great suggestions. I’d also like to add that when I put the radio on while I’m doing chores it makes me smile and feel very happy, and it oftentimes brings back wonderful memories when I hear a special song. Even better, sing along. Melt those winter blues with music!

  • Jyll says:

    I am a homeschool mom of 5. My winter days can become very loooong…so on the days that I wake up and think “oh I don’t want to do anything today”…I simply don’t. I let my kids go outside if it is available or we play a game or we just play our instruments and sing…sometimes we watch an educational video! I have had to learn to not be so hard on myself…I agree with the suggestions above…but let’s face it ladies….sometimes we just need a true “day off”. There is nothing wrong with that. It has kept my sanity and actually it helps the children too. We are re-focused the next day…by faith there will be a tomorrow and some things can just wait. Oh, incidentally, I am a list person too and I do cross off my list…it really makes you feel like you got something done!

  • Allyson says:

    I combat a winter funk by living in Arizona! 😉 You all should plan winter vacations here, or spring training. It is in the 80s this week.

  • Melanie says:

    I love these suggestions! I totally relate to the statement about being in a bad mood because of what I am reading or watching! I just started to notice this, so it is nice to hear someone else also has experienced this. I’m going to try some of these suggestions out this coming week!

  • Dereth Atkins says:

    Thank you for all of your kind words and suggestions. This is the first guest post I’ve ever submitted anywhere and to have it so well received is wonderful. What a great group of women willing to share ideas and encourage each other.

  • Julie says:

    I live in Minnesota where winters are especially long and harsh. I embrace winter as much as I can. I bundle up and run most every morning with my husband. I go snowshoeing, cross country skiing, sledding etc. with the kids or with friends. I just embraced the cold by making ice luminaries for valentines day. They were beautiful and lifted my spirit.
    There is a lovely place not too far from us that is a beautiful conservatory. It houses tropical and sub-tropical plants, ferns, trees, shrubs, and flowers. If I am especially having trouble, I go and visit. It is a mini-vacation because, if feels like I am no longer in the cold north. I can smell the earthy smell of the soil and floral scents from the plants in bloom, see the lovely green of the leaves, feel the warmth from the sun and the increased humidity. If I cannot do that, I have things to look forward to on the calendar. For instance, this winter it has been wonderful to look forward to the Olympics. I will plan an event with a friend that I have been wanting to do for a while, perhaps a play, or visiting a museum exhibit.
    The last thing I like to do is plan for better weather. I plan for my garden in the spring or plan for vacations, camping trips, or family reunions coming up. I won’t say that I don’t get discouraged, but I have found that doing a combination of these things helps immensely.

    • annie says:

      i know the conservatory well. you sound like me, 20-years ago! today i embrace the excuse of being too old and worn out to live as you do, in the city we both live in. thanks for the encouragement to make my day great.

  • Megan says:

    I’m just relieved to read that I’m not the only one who goes into a “February funk”. Great suggestions, but seriously it was just uplifting to know it’s not just me struggling to feel good about life right now for no particular reason other than it’s winter.

  • Rhonda Neal says:

    I think winter is a good time to call elderly friends who you know are lonely and do your best to brighten up their day. You will find that they will brighten up your day instead.

  • Sheila says:

    For me, nothing is as important as getting out in the sun every day. Even when it is cold, I bundle up and take a walk. On sunny, warmer days, I soak up all the sunshine I can get.

  • Jill says:

    Great post! One thing that seems to make me feel better is by making a small appearance change. Some simple things I have found boost my mood a lot include painting my nails or toenails a fun spring color, wearing a new eye color or lip color, or trying a new hairstyle. Kind of off subject…but I treated myself to a pedicure a couple days before I went into the hospital to have my daughter. After laying in a hospital bed for over 20 hours of labor, it made me feel much better when the nurses and doctors would compliment my toenail polish! Something so simple!

  • Elizabeth says:

    These are great tips. Like you, I have to watch my media consumption when I’m feeling down. My local Christian radio station is always a good bet for me, and J.S. Bach can always lift my spirits (his Mass in B Minor is my favorite). It doesn’t have to always be Christian for me (I enjoy lots of Top 40 music hits that help to lift my mood), but it does have to be not too sentimental or have too much of an unrealistic element. This applies to music, TV, movies, and books for me. When I read fiction, I can easily get jealous of characters who have lots of money, go on amazing adventures, or get the perfect guy in the end. That’s just fantasy and it eats away at me when my own life feels lousy. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with enjoying a fun story at other times, but when I’m down my discontent can run rampant, even being jealous of fiction! You summed it up so well in your post!

  • angela says:

    Even though I live in California and we have had the easiest winter ever, nothing clears my mind better than riding my horse. No matter what kind of funk I am in, getting on and riding for miles always makes me feel incredible. Even if it is cold, just bundle up and go. The horse will love the exercise as well.

  • Florence says:

    1. Exercise. It is a must do or I get cranky.
    2. I read something motivational by John Maxwell.
    3. Count my blessings–every day.
    4. Make plans for spring activity.

  • This is such a great list. It is hard not to feel like I’m in a funk living in Minnesota during THIS winter. Will it ever end?

  • Jen says:

    Hi! I love this post!! I was wondering if anyone knew where I can get some pre – planned writing excerises? I really enjoy writing but often have to struggle through some writer’s block first. That can be time consuming when I don’t have much ‘me’ time to begin with. I’m looking for any kind of topic or exercise at all. The point of writing most of the time, for me, is keeping my vocabulary fresh (I hate having ‘what’s that word’ moments) exercise my mind, and when age appropriate share my writing with my son, even if it’s just for peer editing. Thanks in advance for any tips!!!

  • annie says:

    any FT working outside the home moms like me out there?

    this morning i cranked up the radio for 4 minutes and moved like a maniac, alone and still wearing PJs. still got a smile on my face. dreaming of a non-sub-zero temperature season soon!!

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