5 unusual ways to combat the winter blues

Oct 27 2016, 8:03 pm

Every year when the sun starts going down earlier and the torrential rain begins, many of us start to feel a little blue.

Don’t worry – it’s just the weather. The dark days, cold winds, and constant chills can put a damper on our spirits during the winter, making life feel dull and dreary. It would be nice to get the energy and excitement of summer year round.

But looking on the bright side, there are some unusual tips and tricks you can follow to cheer yourself up – perhaps doing something a little unconventional is exactly what you need. From booking a massage to eating a little chocolate, we’ve got you covered.

Check out this list of five different ways for beating the winter blues.

Get a massage



Massages aren’t just for relaxation. They can actually improve your overall wellbeing and help combat symptoms of seasonal depression. During a massage, a therapist will manipulate your muscles and soft tissue, which sends electrical signals through your body. Some of these signals trigger the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators, which help combat symptoms of depression. As well, an hour of massage therapy can affect your body in the same way as six to seven hours of sleep – something else that’s guaranteed to help you get through your winter blues.

A local massage company is making it incredibly easy for you to get these benefits. Revive Massage is a mobile-based massage service. Its app connects customers to registered massage therapists who will come right to your home or office. The system is designed to be as smooth as possible, so you’ll feel yourself start to relax long before the therapist even arrives.

Drink coffee, but not too much


Sipping coffee/Shutterstock

It may seem counterintuitive, but that daily cup of coffee may not be helping you feel better during the winter. Caffeine improves your mood immediately by stimulating dopamine, one of the body’s feel good molecules. But over time it can deplete your serotonin levels, making you feel a little off. Instead, try decreasing the amount you drink, but remember that a little can make you feel pretty good.  You don’t need to quit coffee cold turkey to help get your serotonin levels back in check, and drinking only moderate amounts of coffee can help keep your body in line.

Eat more chocolate


Eating chocolate/Shutterstock

Now don’t take this one too far – no need to eat your sorrows away. However, eating small amounts of dark chocolate can help you feel great in the winter. Dark chocolate is a major source of tryptophan, one of the amino acid building blocks of serotonin. By increasing the amount of typtophan in your body, you’re increasing your ability to make the feel good molecule. Chocolate is also high in magnesium, an essential mineral that reduces stress levels by suppressing the release of the stress hormone called cortisol.

Use a dawn simulator

Waking up

Waking up/Shutterstock

One of the main reasons why people suffer from the seasonal blues is a lack of light – and it’s easy to see why. A lot of us get up when it’s dark, go to work in a window-less office, and then get home when it’s dark again. By incorporating more light into your routine, you can help yourself feel better throughout the winter. One way to do this is by investing in a dawn simulator. This device replicates the gradual rise of the sun when it’s time for you to get up, so you can ease into your day more gently. You can get a physical alarm clock-like device, or use an app.

Plan a vacation



A 2010 study showed that planning a vacation can actually make you happier. Although the study didn’t go into depth on how it makes you happier, the general consensus seems to be that anticipation plays a big part. The post-happiness levels of vacationers versus non-vacationers was surprising minimal, so even if you don’t go on a trip you’ll likely still be better off than the rest of us.

Ready to take advantage of these tips? Start by booking a massage to melt your stress levels away. Try using the Revive app – if you don’t feel like leaving your house because of the pouring rain, this one’s perfect for you. A massage therapist will come straight to your house on your gloomy day, and it’s pretty difficult to not feel better after that.

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