Wellness & Education

When Your Mood Matches the Weather

Are you low on energy, depressed or feeling isolated? Does your mood match the weather? If so, you may have “cabin fever”, an unofficial but common winter condition. You could wait for it to disappear with the arrival of spring or you could find ways to cheer yourself up a bit sooner. Here are 10 tips for coping with the dreary days of winter:   

1) Get a light therapy box with a 10,000-lux output and as little UV light as possible. Use it when you for about 20 to 30 minutes after you first wake up. If your blues are due to Seasonal Affective Disorder, this may help.  Light Therapy for the Winter Blues | Rush Memorial Hospital

2) Find a new hobby. Watch some YouTube videos to see what interests you. You can order supplies online or find a hobby that uses supplies you already have on hand. A new hobby is particularly effective if your existing hobbies require warm weather.   

3) If you don’t already have one, set up a daily schedule. It will help you get more done and it will give you a sense of purpose. Be sure to include some type of physical activity in your day.  

4) Find little ways to break up your routine.  If you enjoy cooking, try a new recipe. Brighten up your living space by painting a room or just buying a bouquet of flowers at the grocery store. When you go somewhere, take a different route for a change of scenery. Little things can add up to a big difference in how you feel.  

5) Join a club. If you can’t find a local one, join an online group. You may be amazed by how much you have in common with total strangers who share a common interest.   

6) Spend some time in nature. If you hate going out in the weather, take a drive in the countryside. A change of scenery can help shake off the cobwebs. If you can’t get outside, houseplants or an aquarium can bring a bit of the outdoors in.  

7) Invite someone over. Your friends may need a cure for cabin fever too! 

8) Be sure to get enough sleep. Exhaustion can make you more emotional, which in turn makes it harder to deal with feeling lonely and blue.   

9) Make a list of your favorite books and movies. Read or watch them over the next couple of months. There’s a reason children like to hear the same story read over and over. Familiar favorites can be very comforting.       

10) Start a gratitude journal. When you shine a light on what is going right with your life, it helps put the negatives in perspective.   Research Shows Gratitude is Healthy | Rush Memorial Hospital