Do you find yourself feeling kind of down this time of year? The holidays are over, the weather is often miserable, and there are no vacations close enough in sight to get excited about. You’re struggling to get through your days, and feel exhausted. I’m no doctor, but I bet I can diagnose this: you’ve got the winter blues!
Winter blues can be a challenge for teachers, especially during the long winter months. The cold weather, lack of sunshine, and the inability to go outside can all contribute to feeling down and unmotivated. Of course, winter weather is relative to where you live, but it often seems as if these “blues” come on somewhere after the new year starts.
Tips to Help Beat the Winter Blues
Here are some tips for teachers to stay positive and motivated during the coldest months of the year:
- Get moving: Exercise can help boost your mood, energy, and overall outlook. Try to get in at least 20 minutes of physical activity 4 days per week. If you can take 20 minutes after school, put on your sneakers and complete a few circuits around your school building. Map out a route that will take you up and down some stairs. It’s even better if you can recruit a friend!
- Spend some time outside: Even if it’s cold outside, bundle up and go for a brisk walk or hike. The fresh air and sunshine will do you good. Even if it’s for just 10 or 15 minutes, you’ll come back with a clearer head!
- Don’t isolate yourself: Make plans with friends and family to get together and do something fun. Whether it’s a movie night, potluck dinner, or game night, make sure you have something to look forward to each week.
- Plan some fun activities for spring and summer: Make a list of activities, trips, and events that you can look forward to once the weather improves. If you love to garden, get out those seed catalogs and plan out your garden. Concerts, summer festivals, and buying fresh produce at a farmer’s market are all fun things that you can pencil into your calendar!
- Laugh! Studies have shown that laughing can stimulate the processes in our brains that help combat depression. Line up some comedies on your favorite channels, grab the popcorn, and laugh your head off!
- Embrace the season: Our frenetic society makes us feel like we have to be busy and productive all the time. Winter is a season of rest for nature, and we’re programmed that way as well. Think of the early darkness as our reminder to rest and rejuvenate. Try to take at least an evening or two to just relax and rest … we don’t have to be busy every minute of the day!
- Here’s an extra tip: When you just can’t seem to get past the winter blues on your own by trying any of these simple tips, try talking to a counselor or therapist. Or visit your doctor to see if you might really be affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is not the same as the “winter blues.”
See my earlier post on keeping a gratitude journal. This is another way to help ease the blues.
What’s your favorite way to combat the winter blues? Comment and share below!