It’s that time of the year again: temperatures are getting chilly, and all you want to do is curl up under the covers with a mug of hot chocolate. We know how you feel! Almost everyone is affected by the change in seasons. Winter is known to be depressing, or in other words, to give us a case of the “winter blues.”

Building a routine is a great way to beat the winter blues before they get to you. This kind of discipline helps us in more ways than we think. This year, we’ve got three tips for you to create a routine you can stick to before winter hits. 

Rise with the sun

Shorter days and longer nights are the gloomiest part of winter. One of the best ways to combat the winter blues is to build your routine around the sun: waking up at dawn helps you get the most of daylight. Try to soak up as much sunlight as you can by spending plenty of time outdoors. Get that natural vitamin D! Try waking up and going to bed at a fixed time. If you want to improve your sleep schedule, go to bed and wake up a bit earlier each day. Keep doing this until you reach your ideal sleep schedule - just in time for when winter hits.

Resist the urge to sleep in on weekends so that you can stick to your schedule. If you really need to, you can sneak in a little daytime nap. In general, try to keep up with your routine on the weekends, or if that doesn’t feel doable, try to establish a routine specifically for the weekend.

Nourish your body

Cold temperatures make us crave comfort foods and forget healthy eating habits. To counter this, try to include cooking in your routine: Anna’s blog has great tips for this. Experiment with different types of soups: they're warm, healthy, and super easy to make!

Making soup is an easy way to stay warm and healthy in the winter.

Also be aware of which types of nutrients you’re taking in. Make room in your diet for foods rich in omega 3, like salmon. Winter vegetables like carrots (carrot cake doesn't count - we wish!), and fruit with vitamin C are also great at battling the winter blues. Pro-tip: if you’re deficient in any vitamins, consider asking your doctor if there’s a way to make sure you can develop a more well-rounded diet. 

Stay active

It's easy to curl up and be inactive in winter. With snow and slush on the streets, our daily number of footsteps decreases drastically. That's why it's so important to make exercise a part of your routine. Try to get your body to sweat a bit every day. 

Hot yoga, spinning, swimming, and group fitness classes are all good ways to get your daily dose of physical activity, even when it’s cold outside. There are also lots of fun outdoor activities like skiing, snowboarding, or snowshoeing that can help you get in your exercise and your vitamin D! 

A routine doesn’t necessarily mean that you do the exact same thing every day. You can alternate certain activities on certain days and see what works best for you during different times of the week. Take each day as it comes, one step at a time. We hope these tips will help you have a less gloomy winter!

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Disclaimer: "Winter blues" can be a symptom of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). If you feel like you may suffer from SAD, please see a mental health professional as soon as possible.