13 Self-Care Activities to Get You Through the Dark, Dreary Winter Months

Take some time for yourself this time of year.

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The dark and dreary months of winter often take a toll on people’s mental health. Thankfully, there are ways to keep your spirits bright through this season so you can stay motivated and inspired in your business and life.

As business leaders, the members of Young Entrepreneur Council know that regular self-care can help manage stress and beat the winter blues. Try some of their suggestions to get you through this winter season.

1. Delegate Tasks to Free Up Time for Yourself

Don’t be overwhelmed with lists of projects and chores just because you can’t do other activities you might spend time doing in other seasons. If you find yourself drowning with projects and tasks, then share those equally with your team and take some extra time to do something you love. I personally love to garden in spring and summer to relieve my stress and temporarily disconnect from work.

Vikas Agrawal, Infobrandz

2. Take a Break From the News

When I need to beat the blues during the wintertime, it helps to stay away from the news. It’s important to know what’s going on around the world and locally, but only to an extent. If that’s all you think about, it becomes an unhealthy point of focus. I like to spend time reading fiction, watching comedy and eating good meals with loved ones.

Jared Atchison, WPForms

3. Go for a Run

In New York the sun sets at 4:30 p.m. in the winter months, so to beat the winter blues, I like to go for a run to help me stay energized and clear-headed. The extra energy helps boost my mood, which in turn makes weathering the winter months that much easier.

Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC

4. Eat Nutritious Foods

 I can’t say I do this daily, but on my better days, I sit on the front porch to soak in the fresh air and start my day peacefully. I also try to eat fresh, nutritious foods all year long to boost my energy.

Carrie Rich, The Global Good Fund

5. Travel if Possible

Travel. Being from Michigan, I’m no stranger to long, gloomy winters. Gray, overcast skies can last for months with only glimpses of the sun. During these months, I’ve found it helpful to give myself a break from the cold and travel. I try to plan a trip south a few times each winter. A short getaway to sit in the southern sun helps me reset, recharge and stay productive throughout the winter.

Shaun Conrad, Guitar Repair Bench

6. Stay Moving

Consider supplementing with vitamin D if you can’t get access to real sunshine. Maybe you can schedule a business trip to visit a partner in Florida in the middle of the winter months to kill two birds with one stone. Remember that getting moving, even if that means setting out an exercise mat in your room, will get endorphins flowing and keep you thinking clearly.

Tyler Bray, TK Trailer Parts

7. Soak Up Some Sunshine

Since I moved to Florida it’s no longer an issue, but when I lived in Poland the winter was very dark (only a few hours of daylight per day) and long. What worked for me was occasional tanning. Your body needs vitamin D. Obviously protect your skin with the right lotion, but exposure to the sun is a great hack to beat winter depression.

Matthew Capala, Alphametic

8. Switch Up Your Exercise Routine

The best way to keep your mind healthy is to stay physically healthy. I switch my exercise routine in the winter months and have an evening session to get my blood pumping. There are plenty of exercises you can do from home that can improve circulation, which leads to better physical and mental health.

John Brackett, Smash Balloon LLC

9. Invest in a Seasonal Affective Disorder Lamp

In the winter months, I like to use a SAD lamp to help me get through the long, cold, dark months of winter. While some people might enjoy it, I’m counting down the days until it’s over. A SAD lamp has helped me feel like myself again when I get in a rut and can’t seem to make my way out. The best part is they don’t cost a ton and are easy to fit into your home.

Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

10. Keep Your Mind Busy

Focus on your physical and emotional well-being. Try to do activities that keep you distracted. In addition to work, exercise and take an hour or 30 minutes to rest. Pick a time for yourself and do something you enjoy. This will help you keep up, even on those days when the sun doesn’t come out completely.

Kevin Leyes, Leyes Media

11. Connect With Friends and Family

Thankfully, we are based out of Santa Monica, CA, so our winters are nothing to complain about compared to other parts of the country or world. With that being said, the days are still short, and with Covid it is more challenging to stay positive. It takes work, but exercising, video chatting with friends and family and going for walks in a different neighborhood have all lifted my spirits.

Zach Binder, Bell + Ivy

12. Try Light Therapy

The best way to beat winter blues is through light therapy. You never feel gloomy and sad on a bright sunny day like you do on a cold, foggy winter morning. The reason for this probably is the lack of sunlight. I like to spend such days sitting next to something that’s warm and cozy like a heater or a fireplace. You can try it too and see how it instantly makes you feel better.

Josh Kohlbach, Wholesale Suite

13. Develop Good, Healthy Habits

More than anything, your actions determine your state of mind. And since we’re creatures of habit, the nature of what you do most of the time determines your mood and outlook on the world. If you have good habits like a positive attitude toward struggle, eating healthy meals in healthy portions and staying active with physical and mental exercises that improve you, winter’s just another season.

Samuel Thimothy, OneIMS

These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.

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