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7 Tips for Surviving Winter

Person in Orange Jacket Standing in Front of Frozen Lake

Winter blues can take a toll on your finances as you pay more for repeat visits to the doctor’s or psychologist’s office and/or lose income due to sick days or extra mental health days. If you find it tough surviving winter, you’re not alone and you have options. Here are some tips to help you survive the cold, dark season.

Get social: Vermonters often become hermits during the winter and this can exacerbate winter depression or malaise. Force yourself to get out into society and interact with people. Volunteer with a community based organization, plan a mid-winter gathering with friends, or sit at the local coffee shop while you read or work on your computer rather than sitting at home.

Enjoy the winter landscape: Okay, it’s cold and uncomfortable, but once you get out onto the slopes or the trails, you’ll warm up. Whether you’re more of a skiing or fat biking type, or a fast-moving snowmobiling type, the chill of winter softens when you’re doing something fun in a beautiful place.



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Keep moving: You should be exercising during all seasons but during winter, it’s more important than ever. Exercise helps you stay mentally and physically healthy during the winter and will give your mood a positive boost. Even the busiest people can make time for a half hour of walking, weight lifting, running, snowshoeing, yoga, or whatever exercise feels good.

Take vitamin D: This is not medical advice – I am not a medical doctor, so you should consult a doctor before making any changes to your diet. However, when you’re not able to get out into the sunlight for an entire season, you are bound to get less vitamin D. Supplement your diet with vitamin D to replace what you’re missing out on by being inside all day long. You can also consume foods that are high in vitamin D, including salmon, tuna, cheese, and egg yolks. WebMD suggests some additional supplements as well.

Avoid alcohol: Again, I’m not a doctor, but alcohol is a depressant and I’ve found that it does nothing but destroy my mood during the dark months. If you suffer from seasonal affective disorder, this is even more important according to PubMed abstract. Instead of alcohol at the end of a difficult day, try exercise or meditation to take the edge off.

Keep warm: Prepare well to stay warm throughout the winter by weatherizing your home, to prevent drafts, and by programming your thermostat to keep the house cozy when you’re there. Fuel is expensive, so try layering your clothing at home rather than keeping the heat on full throttle.

Keep your mind active: Read, write, start a project, build one of those tiny ships in a bottle, go to book readings or other intellectual events, join a book group—whatever you fancy, get into it during the winter months. Engaging your mind helps you keep focus on something positive and fun.

As a flatlander who moved to Vermont over twenty years ago, it has taken me a long time to figure out how to enjoy a long Vermont winter. These tips have helped me lead a happier, healthier, and more financially stable life during the winter months and I hope they do the same. I’ll leave you with an additional bonus tip, for those, like me, who believe in the power of positive thinking.

Bonus Tip – Intend to love winter: A good friend of mine always said, “whatever you focus on expands. Whatever you ignore gets smaller.” Focus on the benefits and joys of winter and ignore the hurdles and you will find that winter becomes less of a problem and much more pleasant.


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About Heidi White

Heidi White is a content writer with eight years of experience in the credit union industry. She is passionate about creating timely and useful content that inspires people to take daily, conscious steps toward more joyful lives. Heidi lives in Barre, Vermont.

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