The winter months are sometimes tough to get through mentally. When I put myself in summer mode, my mood boosts. Here are my tips on how to beat the winter blues, including light therapy and a tropical mindset.
Retirement planners always ask you “What’s your retirement dream?”
Some might say to play golf everyday, to travel to the corners of the world, to dive into hobbies like painting (hi mom!), or to simply enjoy the cozies of home with a book and tea without the stress of work.
My life goal dream is to spend my winters somewhere warm and sunny.
My bones ache for the warmth of the sun this time of year. Shorter days, lack of sunlight, heavier comfort foods. While I do love my winter walks and winter sports, this season is just too long overall. (And I know some of you live in places far colder for far longer – I don’t know how you do it!!) I start craving the longer days of spring and summer the second the new year begins.
The years it has been possible to do so we’ve traveled to St. Lucia and The Keys in the colder months. Nothing boosts your mood like literal sunshine. But in the years that you can’t travel for whatever the reason, how do you channel that warm sunshine on your face feeling?
Seasonal Affective Disorder
I think that I do have a tendency towards seasonal depression. Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is also known as winter depression. People with SAD can have symptoms that mimic depression. While doctors aren’t exactly sure the reason some people experience SAD, they hypothesize that the lack of daylight in fall and winter affects the body’s circadian rhythm. Serotonin (the happy hormone) and melatonin (the sleep hormone) are often off balance as well.
Symptoms of SAD
- lack of energy
- withdrawing from social situations
- changes in sleep schedule, which can mean sleeping more or less than usual
- feeling sad, low or hopeless
The best treatment for SAD is light therapy
People find 30 minutes of light therapy to really improve their mood. This might mean getting outside in the sunlight, but if the sun is hidden behind clouds, a light therapy lamp can help. There are lots of different ones on the market, and they are not too expensive. I’m looking into one for myself. Spend time under the bright lights, close your eyes and imagine the real warm sun.
In addition to light therapy, adding the summer routine in the winter tricks the mind into a summer vibe
So, I thought, if I can’t go to the Caribbean, I will bring the Caribbean to me!
How To Beat The Winter Blues
Put on beach music
The Beach Boys. Reggae. Kenny Chesney.
Make a tropical drink.
Follow resort Instagram accounts.
Like this one. Take me virtually to the Maldives!
Warm your body
If you have a safe way to do it, go to a sauna, an indoor pool, a hot tub or simply take a hot bubble bath! Make your body feel like it’s summer and sweat.
Shop for a new bathing suit, summery clothes, or patio furniture
Watch Moana with the kids
Or your favorite beach movie. Or Survivor!!!
Eat all the tropical fruit
Have a summery dinner
Like burgers or skewers with pineapple or cold peanut noodles or summer pasta salad. Bring on that summertime healthy diet vibe. Enjoying fresh summer fruits – that are frozen – is another way to bring the flavors of summertime to your winter plate (or glass).
Read a good island novel.
I love anything by Elin Hilderbrand. It’s prob not surprise I have never read any of her winter books – only the Nantucket summery ones! But the St. John winter series is perfectly tropical. I loved the Paradise Trilogy!
Wear tropical scents
Like this melting body balm with monoi flower! Or Citrus Mimosa Body Butter. Or just put on some sunscreen! Even a fresh bouquet of flowers can help brighten up your living spaces. Or perhaps bring a palm to your living room!