Coping with Winter Blues at Home

By Julia Weaver []

There are so many lovable aspects of winter – from the first magical snowfall and snuggling up by the fire, to scented candles and winter sports like skiing, snowboarding, and sledding. But, even if you live somewhere like Toronto, ON, and aren’t a stranger to cold weather, the short, chilly, and gloomy days of winter can make you want to disappear until the first signs of spring. This time of year, we don’t see the sun as much as we’d like and miss out on the much-needed serotonin boost and vitamin D. And, unless you live someplace like Tucson, AZ, these dark days are just a part of life. So, you may be wondering what you can do to cope with the winter blues.

Melt away winter blues with yoga practice

Dedicate just 5-10 minutes a day

To cope with winter blues, find peace and ease in the swirl of the holidays with 5-10 minutes of daily yoga and breath practice. Clear aside a space in your home that can be dedicated for you: light a candle or adorn the space with a crystal or keepsake you love. Settle in with deep breaths and move through 3 sets of sun salutations. Wind down with some seated forward folds and lying twists. Your whole mindset and outlook will be reset. – Metta Yoga Studio

Start with a dedicated space

Starting an at-home yoga practice is much easier these days because there’s lots of content online to help get you started. Start with a dedicated space where you have some room to move. All you need is a mat, a couple of yoga blocks, comfortable clothing, and an open mind. Start with an intro to yoga series or a beginner class and take your time. Yoga can help with stress relief, managing blood pressure, increase flexibility, balance strength, patience, self-awareness, and overall increase your body awareness and improve body image. – Dianne Bondy Yoga

Begin with the breath

The benefits of yoga practice can boost your moods, strengthen your immune system and provide immense calm and joy in life. It can be daunting to undertake a new practice, so start small – begin with the breath. Close your eyes and become aware of the breath moving through the body, breathing deep and slow. Follow the breath and notice areas of tension where lies. You’ll be amazed how much tension you can dissolve with breath alone, before even attempting an asana. – Vita Pura Yoga

Make home-cooked meals to benefit your mind, body, soul, and wallet

Measure and chop everything before you begin to cook

Many people are daunted when it comes to the kitchen. A French cook will tell you that one of the most important ways to stay on top of any recipe is to have your “mise en place” ready. Mise en place literally means: “put in place”. You’ve read through the recipe and you know what to expect, now take a few minutes to get everything measured out and chopped up so that you’re not spending too much time searching for ingredients as you cook. You’ll see that this will be a game-changer in your cooking. For more valuable tips and French cooking experiences, come and visit Cook’n With Class in Paris. – Cook’n With Class

Bring back the comfort of home

Food is all about connections, right? It has the power to evoke childhood memories of warm hugs and family – essentially a hug in a mug. Growing up sometimes means going away from family and that hits even harder during the holidays. Bring back the comfort of home by creating a family classic. What was that thing that mom used to make that would make any day better and make the world feel safer? Recreate that. That is – in African tradition – the essence of Sankofa: looking back to move forward. Discovering yourself through food – what makes you uniquely you and creating your new narrative. – Dajen Eats

Warm-up with a comforting soup

Get your cook on this winter with a Sunday afternoon soup to help cope with winter blues. It’s a great way to practice knife skills and use up leftover bits and bobs from the fridge. A warm pot of soup on the back burner is as healthy and as comforting as it gets. Your Sunday movie night just got cozier, and your weekday lunch planning easier. Check out for tips, tricks, recipes, and of course, wonderful virtual cooking classes. – Hipcooks

Cope with the winter blues and fill your cup with pilates

First, learn the basics with a professional

The best way to start at home is after you’ve worked with a Pilates professional to have assistance in learning the basics of finding and maintaining a neutral spine, activating your transverse abdominis and pelvic floor, and confirming that you don’t need to make any safety adjustments due to injuries or other movement impairments. Then you can have a short routine that you begin working on a few times/week – put it in your calendar or it won’t happen. If you want to attend regular classes from home to establish your routine, you will get the best results with a live class taught by an instructor who actually watches and corrects clients and doesn’t just have you follow along. – Move Studio

Take care of yourself

My philosophy is your practice should be beneficial and something that fills your cup. I believe you need to take care of yourself first. If you’re nurturing yourself, it gives you more room to be a better mother, wife, friend, and worker. I have never heard an OPC member say after a class ”boy I wish I hadn’t done that.” – Online Pilates Classes

Consistency and repetition are key

Two of the questions most people frequently ask me are, “What should I do?” and “How many times a week should I do this?” I always recommend Pilates. Consistency and daily repetition bring about changes in the body, whether you are doing Pilates or any other type of movement. The more you practice a new skill, the better your results will be. Healthy movements such as Pilates rely on muscle, motor, and cognitive memory, all of which are enhanced through repetition. The more you repeat these exercises, the more they become “encoded” in your mind and body. It is through repeated experience of functional exercise that the changes in the body are revealed. Joseph Pilates himself emphasized the importance of repeating his exercises over time and doing them with repetition – and he was onto something. Besides learning to do his exercises methodically, there is a reason that we need to repeat them on a daily basis. As an added bonus, when you concentrate on the finer details of the movements, you’re working both your body and your brain. – Erica Walters at Pilates Fit Studio

Carve out time to practice

Set up for success by giving yourself an achievable daily time to practice, keep it short, and do what appeals to you. I recommend starting with 10-15 minute sessions as it’s much easier to make it a habit and choose a pilates session that sparks your interest. The most popular sessions on my YouTube channel are Standing Pilates as they are accessible to all and easy to follow. But with over 100 workouts to choose from, there is something for everyone of all ages. Keeping it short helps the habit get consolidated and try to do it for 66 days straight as that is the length of time it takes to form a new habit. As you get into your daily practice you will soon find yourself wanting to extend the time and the challenge. And then the fun really begins! – Rachel Lawrence Pilates & Dance

Reap the benefits of reading

You’re one book away from a better you

Books are certainly a source of a great many benefits both personally and professionally. Be it a path of escape, engagement, expansion, or discovery, reading often propels the mind forward in ways simply unrivaled by modern media. Remember, you are always one book away from a better version of yourself! – BetterBookClub

Find a good read to curl up to

If you’re feeling the winter blues, try reading a book that deals with the human condition using humor, satire, or even a little magical realism. Not sure where to find a book club-quality read that addresses things like depression or mental illness, but does it in an uplifting and unique way? Check out Matt Haig, Fredrik Backman, or Gail Honeyman – they won’t disappoint and will surely help cope with winter blues. –

Originally published on by Julia Weaver

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