Freelancers who spend a lot of time indoors at a computer can easily fall into a rut during the winter.
Bitterly cold days and limited sunlight can make it easy to just stay inside and fall into the same old routine every day. I live in the land of winter in Jackson, Wyoming, so I’m quite familiar with the woes of short days and bitter cold. We have days that don’t get above zero and temperatures that routinely plunge to 20 degrees below zero — and colder.
It’s easy to want to hide in a nest of blankets, turn the TV on for comforting background noise, and do the bare minimum from the top of your to-do list. But that hibernation mindset can easily lead to the winter doldrums and a serious case of the blues.
Of course, if what you’re experiencing is more than a temporary case of the winter blues, please do seek professional help. But if what you’re experiencing is just a mild mid-winter rut, follow these tips to get un-stuck.
1. Take screen breaks
Everyone knows watching videos of baby sloths is a top-notch way to put a smile on your face. Go ahead, try it. I dare you not to smile.
But no matter how cute baby sloth videos are, getting away from your computer screen from time to time is important. Do some stretches, cook a new recipe for lunch, meet up with a friend, or go for a walk.
Do anything to take yourself away from your electronic devices and get a break from work for a while.
It’s easy to let a whole winter day go by while barely looking up from your computer.
2. Go outside and get some sunshine
Soaking up the sunshine isn’t just a summertime to-do. Get outside and see if you can also squeeze in some outdoor exercise.
Even just going for a walk around the block can be a great mood-booster, even on the dreariest of days. Going outside offers an array of health benefits, from increasing Vitamin D levels to increasing creativity and making you happier.
Getting exercise can do wonders for boosting your mood. But exercise doesn’t have to equal trudging along on a treadmill. Mix it up!
Grab some snowshoes or ice skates and enjoy the winter season. Or bundle up to attend an indoor workout in at the local rock climbing gym or ballet studio. However you want to get moving, it will likely help boost your mood.
4. Eat healthy meals
While it’s tempting to drown the winter blues in carb-heavy meals with lots of sweets on the side, it won’t help you feel better in the long run.
Make sure to eat a balanced diet and eat plenty of healthy meals this winter. Making healthy slow-cooker meals is an easy way to eat smart and still enjoy a hearty winter meal.
5. Interact with real live humans. In person.
Freelancers can go feral any time of year, but winter is an especially tough time for the work-from-home crowd. With bitterly cold days and limited sunlight, why go outside when you can work from home in your PJs all day, every day?
In summer, a bike ride to the coffee shop or meeting up with a friend for lunch sounds like a wonderful reprieve from indoor life. But it’s easy to skip these meet-ups in winter.
Don’t skip them.
6. Stay in touch with friends and family
While interacting with friends and family members in person is best, it’s not always possible. If your favorite people are in faraway lands, make some time to Skype or FaceTime with them on a regular basis.
Set a date, just like you would when meeting someone for coffee, clear your calendar, bring your own cuppa joe, and settle in for an hour (or even a half hour) of catching up with loved ones.
7. Try something new
Shake up your regular routine and try something new and different. Enroll in a pottery class, take photos of frost formations on your morning walk, or go to salsa night at your local dance hall.
Join a book club, learn how to ski, or volunteer to walk dogs at the local animal rescue center. Whatever you do, mix it up a little to refresh your mind and spirit and enjoy a little novelty this winter.
How do you deal with long, dark winters? Or is it your favorite season? Tell us your winter tips, writers!