Be Well

Ten Ways to Beat the Winter Blues

Daylight savings ends on Sunday, which often sparks seasonal depression, so it's important to make effort towards self-care.
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Photo via Instagram / @bellahadid

Winter is fast approaching, a fact made only made more apparent by the start of holiday music season and the impending end of daylight savings. The good news: holidays, a general sense of hygge, and peppermint-flavored everything. The bad news: coldness, a lack of sunlight, and the general misery that comes along with those two things. But don't despair just yet, as it's possible to work to make those gloomy moments a little more bearable through some targeted self-care, whether that's through wellness-focused activities you love or light therapy. For depression (especially seasonal depression), cabin fever, or any other case of the winter blues, we've come up with a list of things that might help get you through this difficult season.

Of course, it’s important to remember that if the changing of the seasons has significantly affected your mental health, you should always seek whatever professional help you can as the first course of action. We don’t claim these tools are a replacement for medication, therapy, or whatever works best for you, but if any of the below happens to lighten your mood in some small way, that’s amazing.

Light Therapy Glasses

Vitamin D lamps are a common way to use light therapy for depression, but you can take that SAD-reducing effect one step further with light therapy glasses. These blue light glasses by AYO are intended to boost energy, help you sleep, and even beat jet lag (so maybe we should make these a trend come February fashion month). 

Light Therapy Glasses, $299, AYO

Sunrise Alarm Clock

Just like the glasses, dawn alarm clocks are another way to employ light therapy for depression and the winter blues. This alarm clock simulates both sunrise and sunset and can provide light-guided breathing to help you relax. 

Sleep and Wake-Up Light, $200, Philips 

A Membership to The Well

If you're located in NYC and are dedicated to making self-care a full-blown lifestyle, a membership to The Well might be for you. For an investment of $375/month ($210 if you're under 32) plus a $500 initiation fee, you'll have access to a variety of services including unlimited yoga and meditation classes in light-filled spaces, personalized one-on-one sessions with a health coach, and unlimited access to the club's amenities (which includes a steam lounge and a library).

Membership, $375/month, The Well

Liquid Sunshine Diffuser Blend

Deep breath in, big breath out. Do you smell that? No? Well, then you should probably get yourself an essential oil diffuser and a bottle of Saje's Liquid Sunshine Scent. According to science, citrus supposedly has mood-boosting qualities. The light yet powerful aroma is perfect to get you through a cold and gloomy winter season. 

Liquid Sunshine Scent, $18, Saje

Diffuser, $130, Saje

A Chic Weighted Blanket

Honestly, I don't know who wouldn't want a weighted blanket. I would like nothing more right now than to be swaddled under this thing. (It's on my birthday list if anyone feels like buying me one.) And while many weighted blankets are known for being bulky and not quite going with your decor, Bearaby has figured out a way to make them chic with their Napper style. These blankets come in weights of 15, 20, or 25 pounds and a variety of cute colors, and they will look as great as they feel whether you use them in bed or on the couch.

The Napper, $249, Bearaby 

Pet Animals

You may have a dog* of your own, or access to one, but in case you don't, might I suggest grabbing a coffee at a dog cafe. If you're in NYC, Boris and Horton is a dog-friendly cafe located in the East Village. (Bonus: they also host events with dogs available for adoption). 

*Disclaimer: cats are also an option but that suggestion tends to be polarizing because a lot of people apparently hate cats. Dogs are universally loved. I don't make the rules. 

Petting Pups, Free, Boris & Horton 

Go for a Float

Consider taking some time for yourself and spending an hour or so in an isolation/sensory deprivation tank. (Yes, just like Eleven does in Stranger Things.) Sessions are said to reduce anxiety, stress, depression, and can aid sleep. If you've been finding light therapy for depression to be an effective method but want to try shaking things up, it's time to float all your troubles away with an experience that's the literal opposite of a SAD lamp but still just as calming. 

Single Float Session, $105, Chill Space NYC

CBD Oil and CBD Gummies

CBD is all the rage nowadays, so why not hop onto the bandwagon? CBD is said to help reduce stress and anxiety, help with sleep, and can offer pain relief, effects that have made it a popular ingredient in both beauty and wellness as of late. Kanibi offers a choice of oil, gummies, or cream CBD products, all of which the company says are double third-party tested. 

CBD Oil, $69, Kanibi

CBD Gummies, $44, Kanibi

Go Outside

Despite the bad weather, it's said that spending time outside is still good for you, as nothing beats the power of natural light therapy. For depression, especially SAD, the effects of soaking up those few precious hours of sun can make a world of difference. I suggest bundling up and doing an outdoor activity, like ice skating. NYC has a number of outdoor rinks, including Bryant Park. Skating is free, but renting skates ranges from $18 to $33 (or you can bring your own).

Ice Skating, $18-33 (or Free), Bryant Park 

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