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The Christmas season is over, and with that, the winter blues are officially here. Winter tends to cause us to slow down, spend more time indoors and can even subconsciously cause a period of sadness or depression. Generally, when you’re feeling not like yourself when winter arrives, it is due to Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.).
S.A.D. affects about 10 to 20 percent of the population, and while it can happen most anytime of the year, the fall-to-winter change is the most common cause.
Doctors claim that a surprisingly large amount of people experience S.A.D. every winter. The disorder can particularly affect those who live in a rural setting and can make “cabin fever” much worse. Though you can’t necessarily just get rid of S.A.D., you can take steps to help you get through it. Even if you don’t have S.A.D., you still should take an active role in your health, physical and mental, during the long winter days.
For starters, resist the urge to indulge in junk food. The temptation will be there, but don’t do it. Also, take vitamin D supplements. Depression and S.A.D. have been proven to be aggravated by a lack of vitamin D. We get far less sunlight in winter so be sure to take this vitamin. As a bonus, it also boosts your immune system. Additionally, get outside as often as possible. Use any opportunity to get outside in the fresh air, even if you don’t necessarily have to (i.e. walking down the road to the mailbox).
Here are 12 unique ways to fight the winter blues:
1. Plan homestead goals for the coming spring:
Rather than saving spring planning for spring, get a head start by doing the coming year’s goal-setting in winter.
2. Teach yourself how to crochet or knit:
Knitting and crocheting are both fairly easy to learn and allow you to make your own birthday and Christmas gifts. Or, make a quilt. Sewing is a pretty basic skill and easy if you have a sewing machine. Quilts can take a while to make and are a perfect winter project.
3. Volunteer at a church, homeless shelter, food bank, etc:
Volunteering is very rewarding and oftentimes these organizations can really use the extra help in winter.
4. Put together a scrapbook:
This can be especially fun if you make it a tradition of putting together a scrapbook to sum up the events of the year.
5. Draw a garden planting plan for spring:
Spring is going to be here before you know it, so take advantage of winter by drawing out your planting plans in advance.
6. Learn how to play an instrument:
If you’ve always been wanting to learn a new instrument but never have had the time, do it now by taking lessons or just learning at home.
7. Throw a neighborhood get-together:
If you’re feeling a little stir-crazy, then your neighbors probably are, too. Plan a neighborhood get-together where you can all talk and catch up.
8. Go sledding, have a snowball fight:
Even if you don’t have kids, you can still get exercise and have fun by doing a “childish” activity.
9. Go on a snowshoe hike:
Take advantage of milder days by strapping on some snowshoes and getting outside.
10. Make candles at home for practical use and as gifts:
Candles are easy and fun to make while also being very practical. Winter is prime time for power outages, so you can learn a new skill while also preparing for a possible blackout.
11. Have a board game marathon:
Traditional games, like board games, card games, charades, etc., are fun and get your mind working. They also are mentally refreshing and perfect for families that might be too tech-dependent.
12. Do a soup or stew trade with loved ones:
Instead of doing a baking day trade, make healthy and hearty soups or soups that you can in jars and trade with family, friends and neighbors.
Winter can really be a relaxing, enjoyable season that lets you refresh yourself a bit before it’s time to get the homestead up and running again in spring. It’s all too tempting to just “hibernate” on the couch in front of the TV when it’s cold and gloomy out, but with a little willpower you’ll find that you will feel so much better by keeping your body and mind active.
Please share your favorite winter activities and tips for beating cabin fever in the comments section below!