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Now that the holidays are over and we’re back to the daily grind of regular life, and the warmth of the sun feels so far away, it can be extra hard to find motivation. You want to stay curled up on the couch, cozy under your winter blankets. You might even start to feel a little melancholy.
Welcome to the winter blues. This post-holiday/pre-spring period is a challenging time when many people feel a depressed mood. You might experience higher anxiety, and feelings of loneliness or isolation. The overall vibe is a sense that winter is never going end.
With a few months of super frigid temps ahead of us, we collected some of our favorite ways (inside where it’s warm, of course) to get you out of the house, connecting with others and beating the winter blues in Chicago.
Dabble and Coursehorse are two of our fav ways to find interesting classes and learn something new! A group fitness class can also be a great way to try something new… check out the 1,000+ classes offered weekly (yup, weekly!) at CAC here!
2) Find Your Zen
Practicing mindfulness, zen’ning out, and other similar activities are always good approaches to managing challenging emotions (which we definitely consider the winter blues to be!). By being more mindful and more “zen”, you can train your brain to stay in the present moment and decrease any depression or anxiety that might creep up when the sun refuses to come out.
CAC’s yoga classes are a great way to help you find your zen while you sweat (click here for the schedule). Float Sixty and Chill Chicago are also a couple of fun and warm ways we’ve found to get your zen on!
3) Get Your Creative Juices Flowing
Creativity is a fantastic way to lower your stress levels and help you feel calm, grounded, and relaxed. When you are immersed in a creative activity, you are in a special type of meditative state that helps you to be present, stay out of your “head” and distance yourself from your worries.
Indigo Art & Violet Studio, Lill Street Art, and Bottle & Bottega have fun classes and workshops to help you get your creative juices flowing – all inside a cozy studio or other heated venue!
4) Move Your Body
Exercise is always a valuable way of boosting your mood, reducing your stress and making you feel better (we don’t have to tell you this, but here’s another post about it if you want to read more...). Of course you can always jump on the treadmill, but we also have a few non-traditional ideas to help you get your body moving and your endorphins flowing!
The climbing classes at CAC, axe throwing at Bad Axe Throwing, and Trapeze School are all super fun, nontraditional ways to get your blood pumping indoors during the winter months!
5) Connect With Others
Isolation can be a big struggle for people during these harsh winter months, and seems to be a perpetual cycle (the more you isolate yourself, the less you want to be around people). Try bumping up your social activities to motivate you to leave the warmth of your couch. Join a team through Chicago Sport Social Club or find a group of like-minded souls on Meetup.com.
These are just a few ways that you can fight the winter blues and keep your sanity during the next few months. No matter what your interests are, we absolutely recommend that you do a couple of things… First, make sure you get out of the house (to limit that pesky cabin fever). Second, try to spend time with others. Third, find ways to play and be creative. And fourth, challenge yourself to step outside your comfort zone to help you through these Chicago winter months.
And of course, if you feel like you could use some additional support to help beat the winter blues, contact us today. We’re here for you, rain or shine (or sleet or snow or hail, too!).
Nicolle Osequeda is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Certified Daring Way Facilitator, and a member of the Financial Therapy Association, which supports the integration of cognitive, emotional, and behavioral aspects that influence financial well-being. She is the Founder and Director of Lincoln Park Therapy Group, Chicago’s premiere group therapy practice with offices in Lincoln Park and East Lakeview.