Five tips: so the winter blues don’t stand a chance

Susanne Loacker

Many people find it hard to cope with the cold and darkness during the winter months. According to health insurance figures, around 30 percent of people are affected by a more or less severe form of winter depression, and women tend to suffer more frequently than men. At the moment, we can’t even look forward to a vacation in a sunny destination. What should you do? Light, color and nature can help – plus a few changes to your furnishings. We have five tips for you here.

A woman in a turtleneck sweater lies relaxing on a couch with her eyes closed.
© Getty Images / Philipp Nemenz

In this article

1. Bring light into your home

Sunshine is the best medicine against the winter blues – but there’s just not enough of it during the cold winter season. So how can you let as much light into your home as possible? Daylight is best, of course. The blinds designed to protect you from the blinding sun in the summer can now be left up – or even completely removed to leave the window as clear as possible. To capture even more sunlight, arrange mirrors or other reflective objects – such as polished metal. They will cast the little sunlight there is into the living room and immediately make it seem brighter and friendlier.

But artificial light can also help to lift the mood. The most important aid is a daylight lamp. It conjures up a wonderfully natural type of light in the living area – and has been proven to help combat winter depression. But how does it work? Just like sunlight, a daylight lamp prompts the body to produce serotonin, which is also known as the happiness hormone. The crucial difference compared to a normal lamp is the color temperature: as with natural sunlight, it’s between 5,000 and 6,600 Kelvin for daylight lamps – a conventional energy-saving lamp doesn’t even manage half that.

This special light can also make the early morning hours easier, even in the winter. At this time of year, most people have to get up when sunrise is still a long way off. A wake-up light combined with a timer can help you to wake up naturally because this way you won’t have to struggle to get up in complete darkness – and your body will be gently prepared for waking up.

Tip: if you are currently working from home, you can move your office to a particularly light-filled room – such as a winter garden.

A window front with a view of a snowy landscape; a window seat can be seen in the foreground.

Bringing light into the darkness: unshuttered windows let as much sunlight as possible into your home in the winter.

2. Color lifts the mood in the winter

In the winter, there is usually nothing but gray outside, and the vibrant natural colors of summer are in hibernation. But that doesn’t mean your home has to hibernate too – on the contrary: now is just the right time to bring more color into your surroundings. Especially warm earth colors like brown, red or orange will revive your spirits. You don’t have to go for a gaudy color on a whole wall; just a few accessories in rich shades are guaranteed to brighten your mood. If you have a dark sofa, you can arrange a colorful cover on it. Alternatively, pillows, rugs or wall hangings in bright tones can be uplifting.

If you are a little bolder, you can also think about giving the walls a fresh coat of paint. It’s crucial that you choose the right color for the walls, because not every color has a stimulating effect. Bright yellow or friendly orange is invigorating – soft pastel tones, on the other hand, tend to have a relaxing and calming influence. Discover to what extent color affects the psyche in our article “Color psychology: which colors do me good?”

A reddish-brown sofa with cushions on it in different autumnal shades.

Colors can have a positive influence on how we feel – for example, natural shades of brown and green are true miracle cures for bad moods.

3. Let nature in

It’s actually always a good idea to let nature into your home. Plants improve the indoor climate and make us cheerful. But especially in the winter, when nothing seems to be alive outside, it’s important to incorporate living nature into your home. If you love gardening, now is the time to get out into the garden and make the final preparations before spring. Find out all the things that need to be done in the garden in the winter in our article “Seven tips: how to winterproof your garden”. Alternatively, now is a good time to integrate a little nature into the winter garden or kitchen. For example, you can create a vertical herb garden in the kitchen or add new plants to your winter garden.

But nature can also be brought into the house indirectly: floral patterns on wallpaper, murals or accessories create a feeling of spring – all in the middle of the winter season. Flowering plants instantly give your home a friendly look. Natural materials also make you feel connected to nature. Plant and animal materials spread natural warmth – read more in our article “Sustainable and fashionable: natural materials in the bedroom”.

4. Create cozy corners

Even if you like things simple and purist in the summer: in winter, accessories create coziness, which lifts the mood. Blankets made of soft materials not only keep you warm, but also make the whole room look more homely. Cushions have a similar effect and invite you to snuggle up on the sofa in freezing temperatures.

To create an even more comfortable atmosphere during these lightless months, candles of all shapes and sizes are allowed. Especially after all the Christmas lights, they continue to exert a positive influence on your mood. After all, what could be better in the cold months after a walk in the snow than to snuggle up on the couch under blankets with your loved ones and watch the candles flicker? What nicer way to improve your mood?

A woman wrapped in a light brown blanket is sitting on a couch reading a book.

Cuddling up also helps if need be: the morose winter atmosphere is soon forgotten with a blanket and a good book on the couch.

5. Whatever you prefer: stay fit – or hide yourself away

Some people want to remain fully fit in the winter and don’t want to skip exercise, even in the cold months. Others just want to hole up until it’s finally spring again. It’s the ideal time for athletes to think about installing a small gym within their own four walls. The advantage is that even during a lockdown, a home fitness studio always remains open. And if you do a lot of sports in winter, you won’t be affected by winter depression anyway – after all, exercise releases happiness hormones.

If you prefer hiding yourself away, you can curl up in a blanket on the couch and binge on Netflix & co. Or take your viewing experience to a whole new level: with your own home cinema. Whether in the basement or the living room, a home cinema is a dream come true for movie lovers. And this type of installation is bound to cheer you up.

An extra tip: wellness also helps to lift your spirits. You can’t go to a public spa at the moment – but you can create your very own wellness area. If you want to install a spa in your home, you can either start with small accessories or go for the full luxury version including a whirlpool and infrared shower. Either way, a home spa is worth its weight in gold during the winter season.

Conclusion: it’s perfectly normal to drop down a gear in the winter. And everyone gets in a bad mood every now and again. On the other hand, feeling on the verge of being paralyzed by depression is not a good thing. But fortunately, you can successfully defend yourself against many lows. With light, color and plenty of coziness, it’s not so difficult to survive the winter – and spring is just around the corner.

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