Happy How-To

9 Strategies to
Outsmart the Winter Blues

If Sundays make you sad, you are not alone. According to a survey, 76% of Americans dread the end of the weekend. And it's not your imagination: It gets dark early, it’s freezing outside, and energy is at an all time low. Sunday evenings are especially brutal in the winter. Even people who like their jobs can get down on Sundays. "Blah" is the word a young patient of mine uses to describe his Sunday blues. It says it all. 

Sunday nights have always been a little tough for me (they bring back gloomy memories of sitting on a Greyhound bus heading back to boarding school). With a little experience and a lot of research, I have learned they don't have to be this way.

Here are nine strategies to make your Sunday blues, especially in winter, a little less bleak: 

Bundle up. No matter what the weather, spend at least thirty minutes outside.

Do something, anything. You may be tempted to stay in bed and wallow, but engaging in an activity will be far more rewarding.

Shake it up. If you have a Sunday routine, switch it around. Try a new brunch place, make plans with a new friend, or visit a new part of town.

Smell the roses. Fresh flowers are always mood boosting. Another option: spray on an uplifting citrus scent to whisk away the blues. 

Give your time away. Do something for someone else.

Skip the all-you-can-eat buffet. Don't use Sunday as an excuse to pig out.

Plan ahead. Lay out your clothes for Monday. Pack your gym bag.

Have a work buddy. Give yourself something to look forward to, like catching up with a friend at work.

Get organized. Instead of avoiding anything work-related, take 20 minutes to plan your workweek. What is the first task you will tackle Monday morning?

As the proverb says, “A Sunday well spent brings a week of content.”

Words: Dr. Samantha Boardman is a Clinical Instructor in Psychiatry and Assistant Attending Psychiatrist at Weill-Cornell Medical College. Her expertise is Applied Positive Psychology, which focuses on enhancing positive emotions, experiences and relationships. She’s also the founder of Positive Prescription, our go-to on how to lead your happiest life—we highly suggest you sign up for The Weekly Dose.