The winter blues is real. I live in the Midwest where summers are super hot and winters are extremely long. We barely have a fall or spring season. I am usually in high spirits around the holidays but then a few weeks after that is when I have to fight the winter blues.
The days are often dark and gloomy during the winter and if the sun comes out it sets super early. At times, the weather can be extremely chilly and this can start to have a negative effect on your mood and overall energy level.
My goal this year is to not let the winter blues get me down. Here are some frugal ways to fight the winter blues on your end as well.
1. Get Some Exercise
One of the worst things you can do when you feel that you’re suffering from the winter blues is stay inside all the time and stop being active. Keep getting exercise and try to maintain your regular daily routine. Around November, I started taking classes at the gym during weekdays around 8 am.
It’s the perfect time for me because I have to get up to help my son get ready for school and take him to the bus anyway. After that, I just keep driving to the gym and take a class. Taking classes at the gym is fun for me because I get to be around other people and move around. Plus, reaching my fitness goals doesn’t hurt either.
My gym membership is only $36/month for unlimited access to the fitness center and group classes so it hardly breaks the bank. If you’re not a member of a gym, you can always see if there are any local fitness or dance classes you can take. You may even be able to find free a zumba or yoga classes in your area. Or, invite a few friends and make your own workout class with free YouTube videos.
2. Eat a Healthy Diet
This is one of the best frugal ways to fight the winter blues. What you eat can have a direct effect on your mood and energy levels. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be super expensive. Just focus on buying real and whole foods.
Pick up seasonal fruit and vegetables when they’re on sale. Cook healthy proteins like lean meats, black beans, and sweet potatoes. Try to limit junk food and instead replace bad snacks with whole grains and healthy fats. Shopping at a discount grocery store like Aldi can help you stick to a budget and you’ll be so glad you did.
Another frugal way to fight the winter blues would be to volunteer at a local organization for a few weeks. This is a great way to get out of the house, support the community, and make a difference in someone’s life.
I have plans to reach out to a local women’s pregnancy center to do some volunteer work. Given, your schedule, you may not be able to volunteer a ton but even one-day a week could be helpful.
4. Attend Someone’s Event
I’m super introverted so sometimes I have to force myself to go out with friends and meet people. Yes, I’m that friend. One thing I found super helpful is using sites like Meetup to find local communities and meet other people. I’m in one meetup group that is always doing something every weekend and also try to attend any events my friends are having.
Next weekend, I plan to go to a vision board party where I won’t really know anyone but I’m still feeling pretty good about the experience. Most of the time, when people invite you to an event or an outing you probably won’t have to spend too much or it may even be free.
5. Start a New Frugal Hobby
When you are home during those dark and cold days, you probably don’t want to spend your entire time binging on Hulu. Instead, choose a frugal hobby activity that you can do at home. Choose something that’s hands on and will keep you away from your phone or computer screen like painting, cake decorating, crocheting, practicing an instrument, pottery, or scrapbooking.
I hope these frugal ways to fight the winter blues help you but it’s also important to acknowledge these tips may not solve the core root of your problems. If you feel like you may be suffering from deep-rooted depression, make sure you talk with your doctor along with a licensed counselor to discuss your feelings and determine the right treatment plan.
Sometimes, the winter blues can creep up at the worst time but it does help to find ways to get out, be around others, and focus on areas of joy in your life. The great thing it that it doesn’t have to cost much to do this.