01 Apr Weekend Activities to Help Fight the Winter Blues
Most of us don’t feel too thrilled about days getting shorter, colder, and greyer in winter, and some even get what many call winter blues.
Many people experience a drop in energy or mood once the season changes from summer to fall and winter. If you suddenly feel too sad in winter, Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) might be the reason to blame. It’s a common condition affecting about 10 million Americans.
Symptoms of SAD
Usually, SAD starts and ends at about the same time every year. However, if you’re like most people dealing with the condition, your symptoms will begin in the fall, consuming your energy and making you feel moody until cold winter days end.
Common SAD symptoms, according to Mayo Clinic, include:
- Feeling sad or depressed
- Too much sleeping
- Changes in appetite – usually craving carbohydrates and eating more
- Lack of energy and fatigue
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Feeling guilty or hopeless
- Thoughts about death or suicide
Once you get past December 21, the days will start getting longer again, so your mood will gradually also experience changes. While it is most likely that the symptoms will resolve with the arrival of spring, you can’t waste the whole season waiting for your energy and mood to come back.
Winter Weekend Blues
If you work the whole week in winter, it’s most likely that the condition will exaggerate during weekends. You’ll have no time to dwell on your thoughts when you have a busy schedule. On the other hand, weekends come with a lot of free time and an arsenal of self-doubting reasons.
Some people may already have so-called weekend blues, and combined with SAD, it can be a combo you will not enjoy. Luckily, there are weekend activities you can plan to help you fight winter blues, prevent weekend sadness, and help stay positive during the entire week.
Activities to Help
While weekends come with an excellent opportunity to lay on the couch and do nothing all day, it’s not the best way to rest or alleviate your mood. On the contrary, it’s more likely that you’ll feel guilty and depressed after spending a whole day doing nothing by the end of the day. In contrast, regular exercise is an effective holistic remedy to fight SAD and can be a fantastic weekend activity.
Exercise changes the levels of different brain chemicals, such as reducing cortisol – stress hormone and increasing serotonin, and endorphins – happy hormones. Therefore, exercise is an excellent mood booster that can boost your self-esteem, increase energy, and help fight winter blues.
Include exercise in your weekend schedule and do what you enjoy doing; whether it’s doing a 15-minute workout, you found on YouTube or running around the block, make sure you stay physically active on weekends.
Even when it’s cold and grey, spending time outdoors can significantly benefit your mental and physical health. The lack of sun exposure is one of the primary reasons for developing SAD; therefore, spending time outdoors is necessary. In addition, it will help your body produce vitamin D, crucial for many bodily functions, including mood.
According to the American Psychological Association, spending time in nature is linked to cognitive benefits and mood improvements, mental and emotional well-being. So, instead of endlessly scrolling social media feeds, even visiting the nearest park and enjoying a morning coffee there can help boost mood and feel better.
Keep Yourself Busy
Having nothing to do is not as relaxing as many might think. Instead, it leaves us a lot of time to get hooked on our negative thoughts and room for being moody, sad, and anxious. In contrast, doing more tasks during the weekend will leave you less time for moodiness. It doesn’t mean writing your emails on Sundays, but even activities such as decluttering your wardrobe, cooking, going to a cinema, painting a wall, or visiting a museum can help. The Association for Psychological Science study shows that being busy makes people happier than idle. However, it doesn’t mean overwhelming yourself but filling your schedule with things you enjoy doing.
Although spending time alone might seem like a good strategy to regain energy and relax, make sure to devote some of your free time to spend it with friends.
Studies show that social support is strongly associated with better mental and physical health. Studies also suggest that robust social life can reduce stress levels, boost mood, promote positive health behaviors and discourage damaging ones. Research also shows that a social component can heighten the effects of already-healthy behaviors such as exercise.
Weekend activities can significantly impact the mood for the whole week. Some you can try for fighting winter blues include regular exercise such as walking, running, jogging, cycling, or anything else you prefer and spending time outdoors in nature even if it’s the nearest park from your home. We also recommend keeping yourself busy with some of your favorite activities and socializing. These weekend activities will help keep yourself uplifted during the forthcoming cold and busy weekdays.