The official start of winter is just around the corner, though for many people in the U.S., wintry weather has already been in effect for weeks. While there are many positive conditions that people attribute to the winter season – like the holidays or snow sports – this time of year can also bring a lot of challenges. Poor weather conditions might leave you cooped up in the house, decreased sunlight may lead to seasonal depression and the drab sight of a gloomy gray day can zap your energy.
You don’t have to be held hostage by dreary winter days, however. By making a few small changes around your home this season, you can help keep the winter blues at bay.
Change the lighting
There are fewer hours of daylight this time of year. When it’s dark at the time you get up in the morning and then the sun sets before you start preparing dinner, it can really throw off your mood. For some people, this may simply mean having a few off days where your energy just isn’t quite where you’d like it to be. For others, however, it can lead to seasonal affective disorder, a clinical depression brought on by changes in the seasons.
“Sunlamps emit waves similar to real sunlight.”
Sunlight affects the production of some feel-good chemicals in our brains, like serotonin, according to How Stuff Works. When you don’t get the right balance of sunlight, it can throw off your sleep cycle and alter the way your body functions. This can result in decreased moods and persistent lethargy.
If you need a break from these negative feelings, but can’t access more natural light, you can try and trick your body with the right artificial lights. Sunlamps emit waves similar to real sunlight. You could also try purchasing a few packs of daylight-colored bulbs to replace the soft white lighting in your home for a brighter, clearer light throughout. By adding some more lighting to the house, those dark evenings can be less overbearing, allowing you to stay energized to do all the things you want to do. Exposure to more light during the day can also help you sleep better at night, which can improve your mood as well.
Open up your space
Changing a few light bulbs may not have the effect you want it to if your home is cluttered. Having too many dark, bulky items around can cast shadows that make your rooms seem dimmer, and the cramped spacing could feel claustrophobic. Purchasing a few closet organizers and doing some rearranging around your home could be just what you need to give yourself more space.
PopSugar also recommends hanging shelves to help you get things out of the way and create more open spaces in your living areas. Mirrors can have an optical illusion effect that also helps make a room feel more spacious. When you feel less closed in, your overall mood can improve.
“The same setting can leave you in a rut.”
Add some color
Spending too much time in the same setting can leave you in a rut where you feel stagnant and bored. While a snowy landscape may look beautiful in the first few hours of sunlight after a winter storm, that same snow can inspire a much different feeling when it’s presented against a gray, gloomy sky. When you can go days surrounded by those monochrome settings, a fresh pop of color can help change up the pace and boost your mood.
There are many different theories on which colors can make people feel the happiest, but according to Psychology Today, how people react to certain colors mostly comes down to individual preferences. So if you’re more partial to blue than yellow, there’s no need to reach for canary-colored hues to add a splash of cheer to your home. Find items in shades that appeal the most to your tastes, like throw pillows, area rugs or drapes, and you can make simple changes that reawaken your home without a total renovation of your current decor.
Stick with your cleaning routine
When dreary winter days leave you feeling fatigued, it can be hard to keep up with your normal housework regime. Studies have shown that messy living spaces can make people feel more stressed. Research from Princeton University adds that cluttered or unclean areas can also make it harder for people to focus, which can disrupt their routines and impact moods.
“Messy living spaces can make people feel more stressed.”
By keeping the house clean, you can feel better about your space and thus, better overall. Use light, spring-themed air fresheners around the home to trigger sensory reactions that perk you up. Plus, tidying your home will keep you moving, and the more active you stay, the better you’ll feel.
Following a regular cleaning schedule will keep messes from piling up too much and becoming too overwhelming to tackle. Do a little bit each day so that it doesn’t become such a daunting task to improve your space.
Small changes can make a big difference
You don’t need to go overboard with redoing your home to boost your mood for winter. Set a modest budget for a few new items and hit your favorite bargain stores to find the right pieces to brighten up your home. Whether you add a new accent color to your living room or put more lighting in the kitchen, a few little adjustments can go a long way in reinventing your winter setting.