Linda Melone
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5 Ways to stay upbeat when it’s cold and dark outside (includes a mood-boosting workout)

Daylight Saving Time officially ended last night at 2:00 a.m., when we all set our clocks back one hour (except for Hawaii and parts of Arizona, where people apparently no longer live in the dark ages).

Why we still do this remains one of the world’s greatest mysteries.

Allegedly turning the clock back and forth one hour twice a year does more than make us all a bit nuts. It also gives us the most use of daylight, enables us to conserve energy… and we’re better able to get our farm chores done.

With all due respect to farmers, I’m usually done milking my cows by 4 p.m. and see no use to continue this time-saving practice.

On the upside, in the fall we get an extra hour of sleep.

I never get to enjoy this, though, because I own cats. Felines by nature do not understand the concept of time change.

Or maybe they do but just don’t give a crap about anyone but themselves, which is the more likely scenario.

As expected, this morning I was woken up at the ungodly hour of 3 a.m. by a cat pouncing on my stomach. (Yes, I could lock her out but then she just meows incessantly, so I lose either way.)

So much for extra sleep.

If, unlike me, you have well-behaved pets and get that bonus hour, enjoy it and think about us sleep-deprived cat owners.

The price we pay for that extra hour? Darkness that seemingly begins right after lunch.

By the time spring rolls around again, we’re like moles emerging from underground, blinking in the sunlight as our retinas once again adapt to the sun.

According to a recent survey, setting the clocks back motivates nearly 60% of us to watch more TV, 41% spend more time on the Internet, and 34% read more books.

Lastly, 4% become so depressed they call a therapist.

And, if all goes according to schedule, I will join part of that last group as I begin my downward slide into the winter blues, otherwise known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD.

Aside from possessing an ingenious acronym, SAD is a real thing.

One year I even bought one of those sunlight therapy lamps from Amazon. I’m not sure it did much. I did feel slightly less depressed but I attribute that to being so blinded by the light it took my mind off my sadness.

In all honesty, I have felt better these last couple of winters, so it’s not as serious of an issue. (But if you feel down and out, please do not hesitate to call your doctor.)

For non-therapeutic levels of moodiness, where you can best describe your emotions as “meh,” I dug up some other tips that may help you make it through until we spring forward once again…

1. Move a muscle

You knew I’d bring this up, right? But it’s legit: Exercising by simply walking for 35 minutes a day five times a week or for an hour three times a week helps improve mild to moderate depression, according to a Harvard study.

Need a mood booster? Check out one of my indoor workouts HERE.

2. Fake it ’til you make it

I joke, but artificial light (a light box), for 30 minutes a day is as effective as antidepressant medications for some people. Although it doesn’t work for everyone, it’s worth a try. Keeping blinds and curtains open and sitting close to windows during the day may also help.

3. Wake up to light

Similar to a light box, a “dawn simulator” gradually increases the light in the bedroom, allowing you to think you’re waking up on a sun-drenched beach. It works at least until you step onto a cold, hardwood floor and see the snow falling outside your window.

4. Play a happy tune

Listening to upbeat music also helps mood. Set aside the depressing stuff, though, and focus on danceable tunes. It’s hard to stay down in the dumps while listening to the B52s Love Shack.

5. Plan a vacation

On one hand, you don’t want to wish too much time away. On the other, making plans for a vacation also boosts happiness, so go for it. It’s easier to cope with the cold when you know there’s a light at the end of that tunnel.


Do you feel less than your usual jovial self when it’s darker earlier? What works to help you feel better? Please let me know in the comments below…  

Other posts you may enjoy:

6 Tips for buying workout equipment you’ll actually use

5 Best Exercises for Women Over 50

Fat burning home workout 

Up for a challenge? Make sure to sign up for my first ever, official, 7-Day Ageless Body Challenge today! And PLEASE pass this post along to your other, Ageless friends. I will be forever grateful. 

Your Ageless Body Coach,

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About the Author Linda Melone

Linda Melone is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, certified trainer and award-winning health and fitness writer. She specializes in helping women over 50 get in shape and lose weight.

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