beat the winter blues
I Am An Expat, My Expat Life

Even More Ways To Beat The Winter Blues

beat the winter blues


Rina of Finding Dutchland wrote a great post to help you beat the winter blues. She gives a great explanation of what the SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is and how it can affect your well-being. In her post, she gives four tips to help you survive the 8 months of darkness and rain in the Netherlands. Unfortunately, the SAD is not a stranger to me, and over the years I’ve developed ways that help me deal with the sad feelings that come with the lack of sun.

1)      Go outside whenever you can

The weather doesn’t have to be perfect, and if you’re waiting for sunshine and a clear sky, you’re most likely to spend your autumn and winter at home. Which is a pity because, when you change your definition of good weather from “sunshine” to “no rain”, you’ll get plenty of good days. We use online weather forecast such as buienradar, or the German Wetter Online to check when the weather will be good. Yesterday, we managed to find two breaks between rainshowers and went to the beach- we managed to come back home before it really started to rain! I have come to enjoy going outside when it is colder, especially in the early days of fall to admire the colourful leaves. In a land where sunshine is scarce, every beam of sunshine is precious!

2)      Allow yourself some bad days

Now you may eat the right food and spend every day outside and do all the healthy things, but the lack of sunshine and the bad weather can make you upset, sick, groggy and even depressed. As long as it is just for a few days, it’s OK. I believe that some days are just bad and there is nothing you can do to make them better. Instead of fighting this, allow yourself a bad and laugh about it later. Try to be nice to yourself and allow yourself some treats you usually wouldn’t. Stay at home, watch silly movies, and drink hot chocolate. Which brings me to my next point.

3)      Find things you enjoy doing

I think the most important thing to do to get you through autumn is finding something to keep your mind occupied and distracted from the cold and dark. It is no coincidence that I signed up for NaBloPoMo in November, the month I hate the most because spending every day on my blog makes me forget how bad the weather is outside. I also like cooking and baking, so that’s what I do to get me through this month. For others, it could be their hobby or their job or something else. Also, even though the weather is so bad, there are always little moments where the sun shines through and makes everything a little better for a while. Try to capture these moments- if only on camera!

4)      Find something to look forward to

Because I was afraid that I’ll get the SAD again this time, I wrote a post describing things that I look forward to in autumn. And all these things are great! Now I find myself looking forward to winter ( in my opinion late autumn is worse than winter because at least with the colder weather, you get lots of sunshine and  dry air, not to mention the longer days! Also, you can go outside again! I am sure if it gets cold enough, we’ll go out on the canals for some ice skating!

5)      Follow rituals or create new ones

I don’t really like daily rituals. The idea of doing the same thing every day seems so boring to me. But I am usually looking forward to annual celebrations and rituals! In the fall, you have Halloween, Thanksgiving, and in Poland we celebrate St. Andrew’s Day. In winter, there is Christmas and New Year. Last year, we watched the whole “Planet Earth” series with K. and we used it especially for rainy days. It was great to have family time together and have the children see animals and landscapes from all over the world! This year, we’re doing it again!

You can find more great tips on IamExpat!

How are you dealing with the Dutch bad weather? Do you get the SAD? How do you deal with it?


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  • Reply Mandy November 11, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    I like your list. Sometimes the shorter, darker, winter days can really get to you mentally. When that happens to me, I will definitely think about your list. 🙂

    I found your blog post on napoblomo. I can’t wait to read more of your posts! 🙂

    • Reply European Mama November 11, 2013 at 7:56 pm

      Hi Mandy, thanks for visiting! I am glad my little list proved helpful! I think I will also remember it when the Dutch winter hits hard- in the Netherlands winters consists of more rain, just colder than in autumn. There may be snow but it is usually unexpected, which is even worse than cold and snow- at least it is light! Good luck with #NaBloPoMo!

  • Reply Aisha from Expatlog November 11, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    I live for summer and while that season is hotter and more intense here in Canada than anything I experienced in the UK, the winters here are just as pronounced. Lasting five months, it’s usually around February I feel that edge of desperation creeping in.
    We try to get out for walks as often as possible – the temperatures may be sub-zero but the sunshine lifts your spirits. I also try to concentrate on the delicious coziness a cold/wet day can give rise to, when viewed from inside the comfort of home.
    Good luck with #NaBloPoMo (I did it a couple of years ago) and with keeping your SAD at bay.
    Aisha from Expatlog recently posted…Passing The Torch – Remembrance DayMy Profile

    • Reply European Mama November 12, 2013 at 8:04 am

      Hi Aisha!

      Hi Aisha, thank you for your comment. I’ve been to Canada and I know how hard winters can be there- up to -30 centigrees is hard!And I left before it got really bad! However, I must say that the cold is so much better than the endless rain and humidity that creeps in everywhere!

  • Reply janet November 12, 2013 at 4:43 am

    Good ideas. As simplistic as it sounds, how about having a lot of lights on when you’re inside? That makes it seem lighter and more cheerful. Or you can spend some time in indoor places that are very light and where there are other people around.

    Good luck!

    janet recently posted…Phoneography Challenge: Macro…The dowagers of autumnMy Profile

    • Reply European Mama November 12, 2013 at 8:05 am

      Hi Janet,

      thank you for your comment! Yes, I always have light inside and that helps a lot! You are right- light is very important, especially if it is so dark outsside!

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