For many folks, the “winter blues” is more than just a passing phrase – Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a reality many of us face during the colder months. Amidst the snowy landscapes, long nights, and chilly winds, taking care of our mental health becomes a priority. So, whether you’re a homebody, a strictly-indoors adventurer, or someone who simply prefers warm blankets and an ergonomic gaming chair to downhill skis, this list will arm you with strategies to help you thrive no matter the weather outside. Let’s begin mastering the chill while nurturing our mental and physical wellness along the way.

  1. Embrace Cozy: Create your own cozy haven with soft blankets, warm lights, and your favorite sensory additions. Giving yourself what you need to feel safe and comfortable on those long nights can help make the darker days feel brighter.
  2. Solar Recharge: Carve out time during the daylight hours to bask in natural sunlight, even if it’s only for a few minutes. Just 20 minutes of sunlight exposure each day has been shown to improve mood and boost vitamin D levels!
  3. Laughter: Whether it’s movie nights, game nights, or D&D nights, sharing laughter (or adventure) with loved ones can help lift your spirits.
  4. Winter Hobby Bliss: Explore hobbies that give you that warm feeling inside. From crafting to cooking comfort food, doing what you love can keep those winter blues at bay.
  5. Stay Active: Movement equals mood improvement. Try a virtual dance workout or practice some mindful stretching – keeping active is a powerful way to boost your mood.
  6. Connect: Keep your spirits high by staying connected with your loved ones, even when the snow is falling outside. If the snow gets too deep and you don’t feel safe driving, even virtual calls with a friend or loved one can remind you that you’re not alone in navigating the winter months.
  7. Self-Care: Prioritize self-care rituals that make you feel amazing. Pamper yourself with warm baths, skincare, a fire in the fireplace, and a hot cup of tea, that new romantasy novel you’ve been thinking about, anything that feels nurturing.
  8. Plan Mini Adventures: If you’re feeling up to venturing out into the world, try spicing up your routine with a small adventure – take a winter walk in a nearby park or try out that new cozy café downtown. It’s all about those micro-thrills.
  9. Prioritize Your Mental Health: If you find the winter blues weighing you down more than you can handle, there’s no shame in asking for help. Reach out to a mental health professional who can provide guidance and support tailored to your needs. Taking care of your mind is just as important as taking care of your body.
  10. Stay Ahead with Prevention: Don’t forget about keeping your physical health in check. Staying on top of vaccinations like the COVID-19 and influenza shots, practicing respiratory etiquette, and masking-up when you’re not feeling 100%, all go a long way towards keeping you and your community safe and well.

Winter in Alaska brings a slower rhythm, a chance to cozy up, and an invitation to honor the tranquility that accompanies the season. Whether you find solace in the comfort of your home, delight in indoor pursuits, or simply prefer the embrace of warmth and coziness, we’ve equipped you with a few helpful strategies to not only navigate the winter months but to thrive within them. So, as winter envelops us once more, let us welcome her not as a foe but as an opportunity to cultivate resilience by embracing wellness practices that nurture us and our community.

Stay Healthy, Alaska!