With winter swiftly approaching, many people might dread those cold nights, particularly if they live in countries or states known for their long winters, such as the United Kingdom, Canada, or Alaska. It’s easy to fall into poor routines during the winter, but fortunately, there are many outlets people can turn to when boredom or seasonal depression hits. 

Woman looking sad in the winter snow

1. Use Art As An Outlet

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) affects many people, with PIA’s new report stating that SAD affects around 20 million adults yearly. Symptoms include depression, anxiety, and tiredness, and it’s due to the seasons changing and the increase of darkness compared to sunlight. When there’s decreased daylight, our bodies alter, and serotonin moves through our bodies too quickly, causing a range of symptoms.

Research has found that an effective way to combat feelings of depression and anxiety is through art. In fact, famous British artist Adrian Hill discovered how therapeutic drawing and painting can be while recovering from tuberculosis. If you feel like you’re developing symptoms of SAD or feel this way year-round, consider buying a painting kit or a sketchbook and put your emotions on the paper. While it’s not a cure, having an outlet for anything is essential. 

2. Keep a Journal

The same goes for keeping a journal. Getting your thoughts down on paper can be incredibly cathartic, but don’t feel pressured to write the next Great American novel. Little sentences and scribbles can make you feel like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders. One suggestion is to purchase The Five Minute Journal. The Five Minute Journal lets you reflect on your day at the start and the end, writing down everything that happened, and as Tot: Hot Or Not states, it makes you form the habit of feeling grateful for your life and everyday activities.

3. Take Cold Showers

While there are many physical benefits of taking cold showers or ice plunges, such as improving circulation and reducing inflammation, they also combat symptoms of depression. UCLA Health Research also states that cold water can decrease anxiety and increase energy levels and alertness. 

4. Organize Social Outlets

It may be tempting to stay home and watch Netflix when you’re feeling down and it’s cold outside, but social interaction is crucial for anyone. Make sure you’re still getting out and seeing your loved ones because you’ll be surprised at how much better you feel when surrounded by people who know you. Try to get out with people and exercise, as exercise will help release endorphins. One example could be joining a gym membership or workout class with friends. 

While none of these suggestions can completely cure mental health or seasonal affective disorder, they can help you release built-up emotions through a healthy outlet. It’s long been known that art, writing, and exercise help reduce feelings of depression and anxiety, so it’s important to remember that when winter rolls around this year.