Brr. Ugh. Yuck. Pff.

These are the sounds I hear myself making lately with our wet, cold, Dutch winter. I'm sure you can relate if it's winter where you are right now. Snow can be beautiful and magical, but frankly also kind of annoying. Trudging through slush and ice to get from A to B. Biking to the train station in the freezing rain to then sit in your cold, wet jeans for an hour. You start to feel like you might be better off just staying inside permanently...for the next few months. 

My mom's snowy backyard in Tennessee. They actually got snow before we did!

My mom's snowy backyard in Tennessee. They actually got snow before we did!

The struggle is real, friends. But, it doesn't have to be all bad! I've experienced at least half a dozen Dutch winters by now and, although I'm no expert,  I've got a few tips to help you fight that wintertime dip. This will help me hold myself accountable to do these things, too! 

Everyone already knows to stay healthy by getting enough sleep, eating a proper breakfast, going to the gym each week. So, I won't go into those, but they are definitely true year-round. These next few tips are for these especially dark, cold days.

No complaining!

Follow me on Snapchat: inabbyland

Follow me on Snapchat: inabbyland

I'm the first to admit that I'm a massive complainer. I complain about delayed trains, being cold, and being annoyed by fellow humans on the reg. It only gets worse in the wintertime! 

Sure, complaining is something we feel like we can connect with people about, but actually it's such a mood killer! Not only am I bringing myself down, but I'm funking up the mood of everyone around me (sorry colleagues and friends!).

So, I've got a nice challenge we can all do! Last year, I came across a live-chat with the guys at Complaint Restraint. They created a simple goal: Less complaining during the month of February. They set out to be conscious about what they were saying and feeling to create a more positive vibe in their life. Creating a good start in February and trying to carry that over into the rest of the year.

We're going to join their challenge next month and try to reel in the complaining as much as possible. You can sign-up on their website and they will email you tips and motivation during the month to help you make it through. I'll report back on how it went!

Vitamin D

In Daun, Germany...the day Thom proposed! :)

In Daun, Germany...the day Thom proposed! :)

Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun. I so took you for granted growing up in Memphis, Tennessee. Now that I live in Holland, I almost never see you in the winter! Especially, with a later sunrise and earlier sunset.

So, my next tip is to make time for you and your dear old, fiery friend. There are plenty of articles and studies available that explain the science of getting (protected) rays and what it does for your mood and overall health. I won't go into that, but I can definitely tell you that I notice such a mood dip if I haven't gotten some sun on my face in a few days. I feel so lethargic and my attitude takes a nosedive. 

Make an effort to get out and greet the sun. Take a short walk during the work day. Bundle up and have your tea or coffee in the garden or on a bench. Getting outside and getting fresh air will already make a huge improvement. Just don't underestimate the power of the sun, even when it's gray, and keep slathering on that SPF. 

Make plans

Playing Munchkin Quest with friends. Such a fun game!

Playing Munchkin Quest with friends. Such a fun game!

This is one of the most challenging tips for myself. It's so easy to stay in, under the blankets, watching Netflix. After a few nights of that, I start to feel like a literal potato and not so great about myself.

The best thing you can do is make plans for yourself! Have dinner with your buddies, go to that David Bowie exhibit you've been wanting to see, make a reservation for a day at the spa, try a new restaurant. Whatever it takes to get out of the house. Even if you can't make it out, plan to do a project you've been neglecting or do a DIY you pinned ages ago and haven't gotten to yet.

The best thing about making plans is that it feels even more amazing to come home and have that Netflix on the couch moment. I got great advice last year to actively plan for those rest and chill-out days. Then, you don't feel like you missed out on something or neglected a task. Shaking up your plans will do wonders to amp up your mood.

What's your advice for beating the winter blues? Leave your tips in the comments. I can definitely use them!