How to Fight Seasonal Depression

November 25, 2013 By Archives, Chicago

7 Tips to stay happy during the winter

(Note to reader – I am not an actual doctor, and I am not actually prescribing these tips as actual medicine to cure seasonal depression)

I am about to embark on my 5th Chicago Winter, which makes me an expert in the field of seasonal depression. I lived though Snowtorious BIG in 2011, and four other eight month long winters. Okay, so maybe they were not actually eight months long, but they sure as hell felt like it.

Just thinking about the harsh winds, sleet, lake effect snow, heat lamps on the CTA, thundersnow (oh yes, it’s real) makes my body curl up and shiver. There is no two ways about it, Chicago winters suck…like bad. As much as we all love this city in the Spring, Summer, and fall, when the winter comes around, we can’t talk enough shit about how we still live here. (for real though, I love this city > shameless plug!)

Over the years I have learned some key lessons on how to survive the winter, and cure that dreaded seasonal depression. So, without further ado, here are my top 6 tips to stay happy during the winter, and beat seasonal depression!

1. Listen to upbeat / fun music

My favorite song of all time is I Want You Back, by the Jackson 5. Seriously, when you listen to that song, how can you not be in a good mood? Find those songs that make you feel the same way and put them in a mix. Music is a powerful tool in the fight against seasonal depression, use it!

2. Get out of the house

This is a hard one because it’s crazy cold outside, but you must get out of the house. A great way to be proactive about this is to plan activities with friends and put it in your cal. When you have others relying on you for after work activities, you are less likely to bail and head home early to watch netflix.

3. Exercise

It is a scientific fact that exercise can increase your happiness – Google it. Make plans to work out at least three times a week and work up a sweat to get you felling fit, fabulous, and happy :)

4. Find a significant other

We all know about the classic summer fling, but finding a winter fling can be a great way to fight seasonal depression. You need someone to plan all these activities with, and go to the gym, so it might be someone you think is cute and can cuddle up with when the time is right. Am I right or am I right?

5. Eat soup

Soup Season! One of my favorites. As mush as I hate the cold, I LOVE eating a hot bowl of chili or soup. Is there anything better? I SUBMIT THERE IS NOT!

6. Love your winter favorites

Maybe you’re a Christmas person, or a hot chocolate person, or a snowman person, whatever winter activity you love, LOVE IT MORE. Tell yourself how much you love these activities every chance you get. Mind games are always a great way to trick yourself into enjoying a time that is not that enjoyable.

it's a wonderful life

One of my personal favorites is looking forward to the day where I get to watch the film, It’s A Wonderful Life. A classic in American film, it is a must watch and constant reminder to us all how much we all have in this world.

7. Take a trip to warmer climate

A bit more expensive, but well worth it. With an 8 month long winter like Chicago, it is important to see the sun and warm up your body. Vegas, Arizona, SoCal, or Florida are all great options. For those with a bit more extra cash, I suggest South America as it is summer temps down there during our winter months.