Beating the Winter Blues

Beating the Winter Blues

Winter Blues vs. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

We’ve all experienced the winter blues.  “Will this winter never end!” “Another storm?!” “Endless traffic delays” the list goes on and it can wear on us as we near the end of a long winter season.  Whereas SAD is a diagnosable form of depression primarily caused by the lack of sunlight.  SAD generally begins in the fall and ends in the spring with the return of longer days and sunlight.

Movement, both inside and outside can be a great way to help yourself and your students stay focused and not only survive the winter but maybe even enjoy it!

Here are some ideas to help you and your students:

  1. Get Outside:

As Minnesotans we are blessed with many parks and outdoor resources.  A lot of which can be accessed for free or for a nominal fee.  Get yourself outside and encourage your students to do the same!

  1. Brain Breaks:

Quick brain breaks are a great way to get your students up and moving, to reset their brains during a long day of classes and Zoom meetings.  There are many brain break suggestions available for free online.  Here are a few we found helpful along with their links:

  • Colors:

Visualize colors while focusing on your breath.  For example, inhale a deep green and exhale a smoky gray. Having your students imagine the colors swirling and alive with each inhale.

  • Yoga:

Miriam Bosveld, the level one ELL teacher for the Adult Academic Program in Robbinsdale uses yoga as a regular brain break for her students.  They will often ask her if it’s time for a yoga break!  Here is the link Miriam uses with her students:

  • Music, Meditation and Deep Breathing:

Listening to music uses a different part of our brain which can emit emotions and happiness. Music can be a great jump start to creativity.  Ask your students to choose a song that brings them joy.  Take turns playing a song a day and get up and dance!

Meditation is a wonderful activity for reducing stress, increasing imagination and creativity as well as reducing negative emotions, just to name a few.

Going hand in hand with meditation is deep breathing. Deep breathing is great for stress reduction, increases energy, lowers blood pressure, and relieves pain.

The following website from Osseo Schools has several meditation, deep breathing, and music relaxation videos you may find helpful.:

PANDA – Minnesota ABE Physical and Nonapparent Disability Assistance

Phone: 763-504-4095             Email:  [email protected]        Website:

Wendy Sweeney, MA, Licensed Psychologist, PANDA Manager PANDA – Minnesota ABE Physical and Nonapparent Disability Assistance
Moira Knutson, PANDA Administrative Assistant PANDA – Minnesota ABE Physical and Nonapparent Disability Assistance