Beating The Winter Blahs: Indoor Activities
If you are already battling depression and anxiety, the winter blahs, or Seasonal Affective Disorder, can be that much more difficult to combat.
I am generally not a winter person. I am petite, therefore easily prone to being cold, even when others around me are not. The shorter days and limited sunlight subconsciously leak into my emotional state. I go out less, and then I want to go out less. That feeling of hopelessness, of the never-ending venality of our existence becomes so pervasive with the endless hours of frigid darkness.
With less to do and less energy to do even what you must, it is easier for these feelings to take over. It is important to be both aware and proactive when you feel that negativity seeping in.
Here are some ways that I manage the winter blahs:
Binge-watching New TV
Winter is a great time for binge-watching television. And with so many app and show options, you can easily fill up the endlessly cold hours with enjoyable and engaging programming. I personally try to avoid anything that may add to any depressed or anxious feelings I may be experiencing,, instead choosing shows that seem to have a positive vibe. Something new that you’ve been looking forward to seeing can give you a boost of excitement that helps distract you from the mundane, every day blahs of the winter. Some recent releases that can help you pass the time include:
- The Mandolorian, Disney+
- The Witcher, Netflix
- Cheer, Netflix
- The Morning Show, AppleTV
- Veronica Mars, new season on Hulu
- Anne with an E, new season on Netflix
The Old Standbys
There is nothing in the binge-watch rulebooks that say you can’t rewatch something you’ve already seen. Shows and movies that you know make you feel good are an excellent source of positive vibes in this dreary weather. From action and adventure to comedy and musicals, I can fill the time easily with my favorite shows and movies. Rewatching something you love with an outcome you already know can create a sense of peace and safety in an uncertain climate.
Some of my favorite things to rewatch over and over…and over:-
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer, full series available on Hulu
- Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., full series available on Netflix and Hulu
- The Librarians, full series available on Hulu
- Friends, full series available on Netflis
- The Big Bang Theory, episodes rerunned on UPN and TBS
- Any Marvel movie in the MCU
- Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts movies
- Pitch Perfect movies
Stay Connected… From a Distance
The group chat I am in with the other Adventurers has been invaluable to my sanity, especially during these long winter months. Living in separate parts of New York can make it difficult for us to connect in person. And when freezing temperatures are a factor, it can make some of us less inclined to brave the cold. But if my phone is nearby then so are my friends!
As a group, we share the goings-on of our individual lives throughout the day. Any stressors are anxieties are reported to the group for advice and relief. During the winter, these connections are even more valuable. The cold and lack of stimuli can make even the most introverted of introverts feel isolated and alone. The ability to reach out to some of your favorite people can be a lifesaver.
Another way we like to utilize the group chat is by “watching” something together. Oftentimes I will mention an interesting show I have discovered and someone will tune in as well. We can discuss the plot and yell at the TV as if we were in the same room.
Staying connected to people even when you can’t be with them is a vital survival tool during these desolate months.
Spend time on your hobbies
My favorite way to deal with the winter blahs is by working on my art. Art is a longtime passion of mine and I can’t help but to feel happy when I am creating something.
My goto medium is traditional drawing, whether with pencils, pens, or with markers. It’s how I work most often, and it’s where I have the most confidence in the outcome of the work.
With the extra time afforded to me in the winter, however, I tend to play more with paint. As I am less experienced with paint, I like to attempt new techniques and methods, which, while challenging, always gives me a mental boost.
Try a new craft!
More recently I have started working with a 3D pen. By far the most challenging tool I have ever used to create, it is also one of the most fun. The 3D pen is a time consuming endeavor, so it’s perfect for whiling away the hours on a frigid day.
I find that when I am working on my art I have little room left in my brain to dwell, stress, or lament.
If you are not artistically inclined, find another hobby that can give you similar feelings. Something challenging but not frustratingly so. Something that will give you an aire of accomplishment, while also passing the time in an enjoyable way.
Here are some crafty ways to keep your creative juices flowing:
- Learn to knit, crochet, or cross stitch, it’s not just for old ladies anymore!
- Go to your local hobby shop, or go on amazon.com, and buy some modeling or craft kits.
- Adult coloring books are all the rage for folks who want to do something creative but aren’t traditional artists
- Learn a language! Duolingo is a great free app you can use on your phone or tablet to learn a wide range of foreign languages
Coping with the winter blahs may not be easy, but if you can focus on things that make you feel good you will be able to stay afloat for the better weather ahead.