Boosting Your Winter Mood

Winter may be cold and dark, but your mood doesn't have to be.

Posted Nov 06, 2015

Winter is tough on humans.  There’s less daylight and for some of us it gets too cold to make trips outside anything but a chore.  The world seems to be telling us to find someplace warm and to take a nap, that maybe bears and other hibernating animals deal with winter more productively than we do.

Don’t sleep till spring.  A few changes to your home can make winter a lot more tolerable:

  • Flood your home with natural light.  Open your drapes and shades to let daylight in whenever you can.  Sunlight boosts both our mood and our mental performance.  Move the furniture in the rooms you use during the day so that your usual seat is in a winter sun patch.  If opening your drapes increases your heating bill because your windows aren’t insulated, act with discretion.  Nothing busts a good mood faster than a shockingly high bill.
  • Think about wonderful experiences you’ve had.  Do your thoughts come complete with smell memories?  Did you have great times on your grandmother’s porch, where the air was heavy with honeysuckle?  Have a wonderful wedding in a stand of fragrant fir trees?  Find ways to add those positive scents to your winter world, for example, via air fresheners or essential oils or cut boughs or something else.  Can’t think of any scents that are special to you?  Then try lavender and vanilla—scientists have found that they do positive things for our emotional state.
  • Keep clutter under control.  Winter nesting is conducive to keeping things around.  The sweaters seem to pile up by the door and the mostly burned candles on the coffee table.  Clutter makes us tense; so don’t put off de-cluttering until Spring.  Keeping things clean and tidy also makes our homes smell good.  Cleaning is exercise and that ups our endorphin levels, which is good for our mood.
  • Make sure you’re using warm light bulbs in the spaces where you’d like to relax.  Warm light is a mood booster, but cool light is best for the sort of mental work you do in a home office.

Winter may be cold and dark—but your mood can be warm and sunny.

Note:  If you have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), make sure to follow all the directions you receive from the mental health professionals you’re working with.