Coping With Winter Blues and Making the Winter Holiday (still) Fun During a Pandemic
It’s the holiday season once again, but even though the festive spirit is all around, it’s not unusual for some people to find themselves down or not quite their usual selves during the winter. These mood changes are symptoms of seasonal affective disorder or seasonal depression that occurs during the shorter and colder season.
If you want to be feeling the holiday cheer, but you just can’t, it’s okay. People who experience seasonal depression tend to get symptoms every year at the same time. They may start feeling like they don’t have enough energy, mood changes, apathy, or lose interest in things they usually enjoy. People with seasonal depression also tend to withdraw socially. While you’re encouraged to socially distance, and you should keep yourself safe during this pandemic, virtually ghosting your friends may be a sign that you’re suffering from seasonal depression.
If you feel like the only thing you want to do this season is to crawl into your bed and sleep, here are some ways to help you cope with the “winter blues.”
1. Stick to a routine
The littlest of things can make a huge difference. Creating a daily routine and sticking to it can help you overcome feeling lost or hopeless. Make sure to include a time for self-care in your daily schedule!
2. Spend some time outdoors
Seasonal depression has always been linked to lack of sunlight exposure and heading outdoors for a walk or a run allows you to enjoy the daylight and release endorphins from the exercise. The weather can be a little chilly, so make sure to bundle up as you explore the winter decorations in your area.
3. Start a journal
Writing down what and how you feel can help you release and get over some of your unhealthy emotions. You don’t need to write about everything, just a little about your day—like what are the things that made you happy and things that made you upset.
4. Make time for self-care
Self-care is essential, and we can’t emphasize it more. Listen to your favorite songs, indulge in your favorite desserts or drink, and curl up in your comfy PJ’s for some relaxation.
5. Try light therapy
Light therapy lamps emit a calming artificial light that functions like natural light – brightening your mood and reducing symptoms of seasonal depression. You can put one in your bedroom or workspace.
You don’t have to try so hard to be full of cheer this holiday season. Keep in mind that what you’re feeling is normal and that it will eventually pass.
Of course, this holiday season won’t be the same as it usually is, which can make you feel more depressed, but that doesn’t mean it should be boring. There are loads of things you can do to make the most out of this holiday season while keeping yourself safe from COVID-19 and adhering to the precautions you’ve done for most of the year.
Here’s a guide to making your winter break this year fun while staying safe from COVID-19.
1) Decorate your home
As most of us have no choice but to spend our holidays at home, we might as well make our homes look festive! Set up the Christmas tree, garland, wreath, lights, and other decorations, to get you in the spirit of the season while spending some quality time with the fam!
2) Baking chain
Everyone seems to have been doing a lot more baking this year with all of their free time, courtesy of community quarantines and self-isolation policies. Baking is a fun way to spread some holiday cheer and enjoy delicious goodies at the same time.
Start by whipping up a holiday treat like cookies, pie, or hot cocoa, then leave it on a friend’s or neighbor’s porch with a note telling them to keep the baking chain going. They can bake whatever holiday goodies they fancy and deliver it to whomever they want to receive the surprise and the same note.
3) Make candy from snow
If it’s your first time hearing about making your own candy from snow, here’s how you do it: Place some snow into a container and pour drops of maple syrup into it in whatever size or shape you want your candy to be. Wait for it to harden, and you now have a delicious and fun treat you made yourself!
4) Virtual snowman building contest
Get all your BFFs on a group video call and build snowmen at the same time. Go all out by using fun accessories from your closet, or you can even have an unbiased participant choose the most creative snowman! This is a fantastic way to virtually stay in touch with your friends these holidays while enjoying the fresh and cold winter air.
5) Learn to knit
Knitting is not just for your grandparents, and it’s very relaxing! You can spend an afternoon handcrafting a personalized phone case, mittens, or blanket for someone you care about or even for yourself!
6) Listen to podcasts or audiobooks
You can find a lot of podcasts out there: from celebrities and social media stars sharing important updates about their lives to real crime recounts and comedy pairs – there’s something you can find for any interest! You can also help pass the time on a lackluster winter day or destress after a busy day of prepping for the holidays with an audiobook.
7) DIY skincare
Pamper yourself this winter and protect your skin from the harsh winter air using homemade face masks and scrubs. You can find tons of simple recipes online. With ingredients as readily available as sugar and honey, you can create your own product that your skin will thank you for.
8) Manifest your 2021 goals!
You can make 2021 the best year yet, and now is the perfect time to write down all your hopes for the fresh start that we’ve been waiting for since the pandemic happened.
9) Do a winter photoshoot
Head outdoors and enjoy the holiday scenery! Use a self-timer or partner up with your sister to take pics of one another in the cute clothes you never got to use since the pandemic. Play dress up just because, and fill your Insta feed with #holidaygoals photos.
10) Practice those famous TikTok moves every day
Who needs the gym when you can always do the Renegade inside your home every day? Commit to learning a new dance each day from everyone’s favorite social media app and get that cardio workout while also keeping yourself entertained.
11) Bonfire and s’mores sesh
Need a reason to eat something sweet? Light up a little fire and roast marshmallows with your fam! This cute activity will also give you some precious time for intimate talks with your loved ones.
12) Make your own jewelry
If you’re looking for a fun and creative outlet, try jewelry-making. You can even use the pieces you make as presents for your loved ones. You can find many DIY video tutorials on Youtube to guide you in making simple earrings, necklaces, and bracelets using items already in your house.
13) Virtual book club
Ask your friends for recommendations on good books to read this winter. You can also meet up over FaceTime and read something together, then discuss what you loved or hated from the book.
14) Plan a virtual present wrapping party
Don’t make wrapping presents feel like a chore! Plan a time with your friend or SO to chat over FaceTime while you wrap gifts, listen to your favorite holiday songs, and munch on yummy holiday treats.
15) Give back!
With the not-so-good economic and social challenges this year, several people worldwide need a little extra help this winter. You can spend a day volunteering at a local food bank or charity organization, start a drive to collect food and hygiene items to donate to local shelters or place a monetary donation to an online organization. Using your time and energy to help others will help you feel great while making a difference in your community!
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