It’s the time of year when the blues hit the hardest. And while many people turn to costly escapes, you can get the same results without spending a penny. De-stress for less and send that down mood packing with these 7 totally free pick-me-ups.
1.) Get moving - Move off the couch and do some crunches, hit the treadmill and burn those calories. Or, bundle up and go for a jog outdoors. When you get moving, so do those feel-good endorphins—and the blues won’t stand a chance!
2.) Listen to some music - Music is strongly linked to our emotional state. Slow, classical music played at a low decibel level has a unique calming effect. If that’s not your thing, evoke the power of memory by listening to music that brings you back to a happier time and place.
3.) Spend time with nature - Research shows that spending time surrounded by nature can improve your physical well-being and cut down on the production of stress hormones. If you live near a wooded area, take nature’s healing power up a notch. “Forest bathing” is the new stress-buster! All it involves is spending time alone in a forested area. A 2010 study found that participants who forest bathed had lower levels of cortisol, aka “the stress hormone,” than those who walked through city blocks. Take a hike in the woods and drop that stress for good!
4.) Laugh a little - Yes, a good laugh really is the best medicine. Next weekend, invite a friend over and binge-watch your favorite comedy show or sitcom. As you laugh along with the characters on the screen, your tension will slowly melt away.
5.) Learn a new skill - Boost your confidence and get an instant pick-me-up by learning something new this winter. You can find a DIY tutorial on YouTube for practically any hobby or skill you can dream up. Become an origami expert, learn a new language, crochet the warmest blanket or even take up pottery!
6.) Pet your pooch - Scientific evidence proves that stress levels in humans decrease when petting a furry friend. Give your pet a little extra love when you’re stressed and you may feel the stress slowly fade away.
7.) Soak up some sun - Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a condition that makes people feel blue during winter months when days are short and sunlight is scarce. Kick SAD this winter by soaking in as much sunshine as you can. Open the shades to let the sunlight in while you work and try to squeeze in an early-morning walk each day so you’re spending time outdoors while the sun is still up.
Beat the blues this winter with these helpful hacks and remember - spring is coming!