5 Ways to Alleviate Your Winter Season Stress



It is statistically proven that the majority of people are less happy during winter months than they are during the rest of the year. The negative effects of winter on mental health are so common that there is an actual medical term for this issue: Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. SAD is when a person experiences excessive stress or anxiety due to changes in the weather, typically when it starts to get colder.


There is no doubt that it can be extremely difficult to power through a winter day when you feel affected by this disorder. When a person’s mental health suffers, they will ultimately suffer too. Here are some helpful tips to get you through the next couple winter months! 


1. Focus on the Future 

In the midst of winter, it can be hard to see the light at the end of this three-month tunnel. While it can be discouraging having all of this time ahead, focusing on fun future events is key. Think about it like this: three months out of twelve is a mere quarter of the year! Looking ahead can make time go by quicker while taking your focus away from the current circumstances. Whether you look forward to a birthday, holiday, special occasion, trip, a sport starting, or even a change in the weather, it can all have a significant impact mentally. Planning for these things can also help you remove your focus from your stress. Things like deciding on outfits for trips, creating Pinterest boards, practicing your sport, or anything else that frees the mind can help to alleviate the anticipation of the event and make it feel even sooner. 


2. Find Hobbies to Help You Cope

Hobbies are healthy distractions that can take your mind off of present issues. Anytime that you decide to perform an activity that makes you happy, you will feel significantly better. Whether you enjoy soccer, painting, or baking, these activities can be a very effective source of stress relief. Exploring a new hobby or enjoying a preexisting one can easily fill your mind with happy thoughts and distract you from your SAD.


3. Get outside! 

A main cause of the many winter mental health problems is the temperature. Even when it is cold outside, prioritize getting some fresh air. If you make peace with the thing that’s causing you stress, it can ultimately turn your stress into positive feelings. As long as weather conditions permit, try taking a 15 minute walk outside, even if you have to wear a coat! On a day where it snows, go outside and build a snowman (we can confirm that you’re never too old for that!) Outdoor exposure is known to help with stress and you’ll be getting in some additional exercise too! The benefits are endless.


4. Contact your friends 

Friends are not only a distraction to all of the stress, but talking to someone about how you feel can get everything off of your chest. Bottling up all your feelings is an extremely unhealthy practice. Friends can provide a more successful outlet for this stress and allow you to connect with others and relax. 


5. Write!

Writing is a cathartic source of relaxation for many people, and it works! This activity not only expresses all your feelings visually, but it also provides a private location to rant when you do not want to share with others. Writing about your feelings, future events, or even random parts of your life or day is a great way to express your thoughts. Writing is almost like free therapy, except it doesn’t have the occasional undesired feedback. 


It is essential that we each learn to take care of ourselves, especially in the winter months when mental health is not usually at its best. By simply following some of these tips, along with many other beneficial stress relieving concepts, you can live every day feeling your best self!