It’s that time of year. Cold and dreary. Sure, global warming has some places sweating in February, but a lot of us are in the cloudy, chilly, precipitation nation we call Winter. The season has its perks, like crocheted scarves and cable-knit sweaters, but it also gets a lot of people feeling low. Whether you suffer from SAD or have some snow-time blues, everyone gets down sometimes.
There are a lot of self-care posts out there. “Go get a bath bomb!” “Paint your nails, girlfriend!” “Look in the mirror, and be thankful for what you have! Other people have it worse!”
None of that really helps when you’re nesting, your entire days worth of food dishes building up around you. You’re cocooned in a blanket and can’t break your month-long Netflix marathon to do anything productive for longer than three minutes at a time. What’s the point?
That’s why we need to rock out the little things.
1. Go take a shower.
Stop telling yourself that just because you’re not going anywhere today, you don’t have to feel clean and ready. Getting that 3-day-unwashed grease out of your hair and taking some soap to your face is super helpful for getting the grime off of your body and out of your head.
2. Go ahead and get ready.
My deal is makeup. I’ll leave it off if I’m at home for the day, but I know I look and feel better with some brow filler and mascara. It’s the same reason I wear makeup to the gym—when I feel like I look good, I perform better. Maybe makeup isn’t your thing. Put on some body spray. Brush your hair. Moisturize. Put on some clothes that make you feel good because that’s what it’s all about. And, seriously, good job. Some days it’s hard to get ready, and you should know that you’re awesome for doing it.
3. Try to exercise.
I’m not saying you need to run for an hour every day. Maybe try yoga for 20 minutes before bed. Go jog a mile after your coffee. Find a break in your day and plank. People may make you feel inadequate for only being able to do a 15-minute workout a day, but that’s better than nothing. Go you for even trying!
4. Stop comparing yourself to others.
On all of it. I recently read a post on tumblr about flowers not blooming all year long, so don’t think you have to, and that’s an incredible way to look at it. Even trees loose their leaves in the winter, but they come back. What you see on social media from people is generally only when people are feeling and looking their best. Plus filters. So much of it is an advertisement, for their self-brand or for a product. We all do it—post when you’re cute. Flash the smile, and talk about the great aspects of your day! But life isn’t a perpetual string of amazing moments. There are definitely downs, but use those to help you appreciate that view once you hit the top of the mountain.
5. Eat your fruits and vegetables. And a cupcake.
No, you don’t have to eat healthy all the time, like we are lead to believe, but, if you’re stuck in a winter funk, try shoving some greens into a smoothie. Eat some veggie-filled soups. Make sure you’re eating enough and getting your vitamins—those can really help your mindset.
6. Talk to your friends.
The blues can take a toll on your relationships, so you really need to actively reach out. Text your pals, and tell them to have a great day. Let people know how much they mean to you. We live in a world where people never want to make the first move or send the first message for fear of being annoying. If your friends and family are annoyed by a well-meaning text from you, that’s their problem, but managing to maintain these relationships and actually going out sometimes can boost your mood like no other. Let yourself laugh. But don’t feel like you have to go out and party, either. Sometimes the anxiety and effort isn’t worth it, so maybe recommend that your buds come over for a banana bread baking session. Just know they’re there for you even when you’re feeling alone.
So there you have it. All the “just smile, it’ll all work out” advice is well and good until you’re smiling, and it’s still not okay. Don’t worry about it. We all have tough times, and your times are valid no matter what. You matter, so treat yourself like it. You can do it, and I hope the rest of your Winter gets better and better. And, remember, Spring is just around the corner.