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The winter blues are TOTALLY a thing—whether we want them to be or not. Short days and cold nights can easily kill your motivation and leave you feeling just plain blah. There’s a name for these melancholy feelings: seasonal affective disorder, also called SAD for short. SAD tends to affect women at a higher rate, and it can take a serious toll on your work and life if it’s left unaddressed.

Since we can’t hibernate for three months (lucky polar bears!), it’s important to stay ahead of this seasonal slump with proactive self-care. Ready to beat the winter blues and reclaim your good vibes? Read on!

Seasonal Affective Disorder Symptoms

While no one is 100% sure of the cause of seasonal affective disorder, according to WebMD, some scientists believe it’s linked to changes in hormones that happen in tandem with changing seasons. It’s normal to feel a bit different in your mind and body as the seasons change each year, but how do you know the difference between a one-off bad day and an actual bout of seasonal affective disorder? Check out the Mayo Clinic’s list of classic symptoms of seasonal affective disorder below:

  • Depressed feelings for days or weeks at a time
  • Low energy
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Feelings of lethargy, hopelessness, or worthlessness
  • Changes in appetite or fluctuations in weight

Sound familiar? If you’re having a few of these seasonal affective disorder symptoms, it’s time to start fighting the winter blues.

How to Treat SAD and Cure Winter Blues

First things first—if you’re experiencing prolonged depression, it’s always a good idea to speak with a doctor or therapist. Once you know you’re not dealing with something that needs professional or medical attention, fighting the winter blues is as easy as bringing more fun and action into your life! Here are a few ideas to cure winter blues:

1. Get moving.

It’s no secret that exercise is good for your physical health, but it can also boost your mental state! Exercise releases endorphins, which can help to elevate your mood and give you a sense of overall well-being. Sunlight can help SAD symptoms, too, so exercise outside or near a window whenever possible.

2. Try some mind-body integration techniques.

Sometimes, the winter blues can make you feel disconnected from your own feelings—almost as if you’re just going through the motions of life. Keep yourself grounded and engaged in your life with mind-body practices, such as meditation, mindfulness exercises, breathing techniques, or even yoga (a dual-purpose activity, since it gives you a dose of exercise, too!).

3. Be social.

When experiencing winter blues, you might only want to curl up under a blanket and sleep. But actually, doing the opposite is far more beneficial! Join a group exercise class at a nearby gym, or book a paint and wine night where you and your friends can laugh the night away (like exercise, the Mayo Clinic reports laughter is proven to boost your mood). Yes, you’ll have to put on real pants (or not, we won’t judge!) and leave the couch, but we promise—the memories and social time will make leaving your blanket fort worthwhile.

Find Painting Events Near You for A Mid-Winter Pick-Me-Up

We may not be able to stop winter from happening, but we can help you avoid the sad feeling it sometimes brings with it! Fighting the winter blues can be as simple as spending time with those you love and practicing a fun new skill in a relaxing environment. Find nearby painting events for an unforgettable winter outing at Painting with a Twist. Don’t forget the wine!

Staying active, eating chocolate and getting a little art therapy goes a long way!

Let’s face it, the arctic weather this year has taken a toll on all of us. (Is it flip flop season yet?!) I’ll speak on behalf of all women out there that we could all use a little renewal this spring to cure the winter blues. We got you, girl. Check out some ways we’ve found to Spring into Joy below!

1. Get Outside!

When the weather starts to warm up and the ice starts melting, go outside and soak it in! Or at least open the windows! Take a walk, bring the kids to the park, go have a picnic.  The much-needed dose of Vitamin D can certainly boost your mood!

2. Healthy Diet & Exercise

Grab your ear buds and get moving! Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed. Exercise combined with a healthy diet has the greatest impact. P.S. did you know dark chocolate is full of anti-oxidants AND can help enhance your mood!? We didn’t make this up.

3. Get Together with Friends

Keep your social life active. Enjoy a night out with girls for food and drinks or some art therapy!  Did you know that painting can relieve stress, encourage more creative thinking, build self-esteem and create an overall healthier state of mind. Pairing WINE with PAINT — we may be biased but it’s the perfect combination to de-stress and feel rejuvenated!

4. Cross Something Off Your To-Do List

The never-ending To-Do list… don’t let it be never-ending. Cross something off! It’ll give you a sense of accomplishment and boost your mood. It can be something little like organize a junk drawer (we all have them!) or something bigger like “Marie Kondo-ing” your closet.  Just get something done so you can put a big check mark next to it. It’ll bring you joy! ??

5. Plan Something to Look Forward To

Whether it’s planning your next date night or girls’ night or a big vacation, start a Pinterest board with some ideas.  The planning process, itself, will boost your mood!

There you have it. Whether you take a walk in the park, re-organize your closet or de-stress with some wine & art therapy, we hope you benefit from these tools to help cure those winter blues and Spring into Joy!

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