5 Tips for Stress Management in Winter Months

By Staff Writer Published on December 22, 2017

Tips for Stress Management in Winter

The holiday season may be a time where you’re meant to be jolly, but between the responsibilities and challenges involved with work, finals, holiday preparation, and travel, etc., it’s easy for a lot of stress to build up and keep you down. Not to mention the post-holiday blues as the winter months continue.

Many people experience a bit of a downturn in the winter months. Shorter days with less sunlight combined with the stressors of the season as well as a more sedentary lifestyle because of the cooler weather can make a big difference in your mood and stress levels.

Fortunately, there are many things you can do to shrug off the winter blues. Follow these steps to start bringing back the spring in your step in no time.

Start Moving

Winter months often result in a less-active lifestyle. This is a significant problem in colder climates, but even those who enjoy a relatively mild and sunny winter often stay inside more often due to family obligations, increased commitments, and rising responsibilities at work and school as the old year closes out and a new one starts.

Even if your schedule is jam-packed with various time commitments, make time to move every day, and try to work in some exercise at least three times a week. Not only will this help raise your spirits as your body releases endorphins, it will help you stay healthy as well.

Let in the Light

As the days get shorter, you have fewer opportunities to soak in much-needed sun rays. If you work an 8-5 job, it might seem like it’s dark when you come into work and dark when you leave. Fluorescent lighting may feel like the only light you get to see all day.

Take advantage of breaks, your lunch hour, or any other free time you have to get outside when the sun is shining. Even 10 minutes of sunlight exposure a day can do a world of good.

While you’re at work, open up the windows if at all possible to increase the natural light in your life. If you have a day when you can’t make it outside, at least spend a bit of time near a window during daylight hours.

Use a Planner/Calendar

Especially during the holidays, it is easy to start to drown in commitments and responsibilities if you don’t have a way to keep it all organized. Writing down and planning all of your commitments and tasks can help break down monumental projects and crazy schedules into manageable daily tasks. Instead of facing a massive, amorphous blob of stress, you will have a functional plan of action.

Go with the organizational tool that works best for you. Some people enjoy using planning apps, or online calendars like Google Calendar. Others prefer writing everything down in physical planners.

Eat Healthy Food

The holidays are full of sugar and comfort foods, but you don’t want to deal with feeling sluggish and bloated the whole season.

You don’t have to abstain from all of the tasty food that comes with the season, but it is important to maintain an overall pattern of healthy eating during the winter months.

When you eat at home, make sure to plan healthy, balanced meals. If you know you have a party coming up that weekend, avoid eating out or cooking unhealthy meals during the rest of the week and add in a little extra exercise. When you do indulge, take small portion sizes.

Commit to a Sleep Schedule

During the winter months, it’s easy to want to stay in bed all day long whenever possible. While sleeping in a bit on weekends isn’t the end of the world, it’s best to stick to a fairly regulated sleep schedule. If you go to sleep and wake up at drastically different times each day, it’s difficult for your body to establish a restful routine.

Try to go to bed and wake up at roughly the time every day. This will train your body to expect to go to sleep and get up at a certain time, which can eventually help you fall asleep faster and wake up in the morning more easily.

Sleepiness is a big contributor to winter blues. Do your best to get enough sleep every night, and you’ll be more productive and happier during the day.