Pay Your Bill

By Pam Dewey • mental health, mental health care, self-care, seasonal affective disorder, depression, SAD, taking care of your SAD, taking care of your mental health, mental illness, winter blues, winter depression, boosting your mood, improving your mood, boosting your mood with home updates, boosting your mood winter, fighting winter blues, home transformations to improve mood • January 18, 2024

Winter can be a difficult time of year. The daylight is shorter, temperatures are colder and — depending on where you live — there’s snow and ice on the ground. You likely find yourself spending more time inside. So, how can you transform your space to boost your mood this winter? Here are a few ideas.

Create your own light

Though the winter months don’t have as much sunlight, you can still maximize the light you bring into your space. Author of “Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times” Katherine May suggests,Work with the nature of the light at this time of year, creating cozy pools of illumination in dark corners, rather than trying to eradicate darkness altogether.” This means adding more cozy, low lights like lamps or candles. Consider moving a favorite chair in front of a window, so you can bask in sunlight while you read. Natural light also helps combat seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is depression that “start[s] in the fall and continue[s] into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody.”

And on the subject of candles, May suggests, these aren’t just for nighttime. Scandinavians burn candles all day to add warmth and diffuse the dull, winter light.

Bring in the soothing, familiar scents

Fragrance can have a powerful impact on your mood. A certain smell can evoke a memory or help you relax. According to Live Science, smells are processed first by the amygdala, a place in the brain where emotions are formed, and memory is processed. That explains why certain aromas evoke powerful memories that create an emotional response. If you’re missing a loved one, find a candle, incense or essential oil that reminds you of them.

Verywell Mind also states, “The scent of lavender is associated with feeling calm, and for good reason. It may help lower blood pressure, calm the nervous system, and even improve your mood.” Scents like jasmine, rosemary and peppermint have also been shown to boost mood or decrease stress levels. Using these scents in your space, even just with soap, can brighten your mood. 

Layer in bright colors

The winter months can be long and gray, but your home doesn’t have to be. Add a shot of color with a couple of throw pillows, a bright throw, a new set of candles, or even a new painting. If you want to amp up the happiness, add colors like red, orange or yellow. Mental Health America states, “While more research is needed to fully understand the links between color and mood, color theory suggests that carefully selecting the color scheme for your home can positively impact your mental health and well-being…Bright, warm colors (reds, oranges, yellows) stimulate energy and happiness while cool, subdued colors (blues, greens, purples) are soothing and calming.”

Create an inviting (faux) fireplace

Not everyone has a fireplace in their home. But that doesn’t mean you can’t create your own faux fireplace, if you’re craving a cozy night by the fire. Take a piece of chalk and draw a fireplace on a bare wall. Add a stack of wood and string lights, and you’ve got a cozy, faux fireplace. Or try a faux fireplace heater or a fireplace entertainment center. There are many ways to fake a fireplace these days.

Add some cozy texture

There are few things more cozy than curling up under a soft blanket. But you don’t have to limit your cozy texture to blankets. You can now find chairs, sofas and ottomans covered in comfy bouclé fabric or soft faux fur. Or, add a faux fur hide to a bench, chair or ottoman. Try a pile of oversized pillows for you and your loved ones to snuggle up on this season. You don’t have to spend much; your local thrift store or online marketplace likely has some beautiful options.

Warm your heart

Memories of good times and good friends are a great way to warm up a space, even if that means just your heart. Real Simple states, “They won't technically warm up your space, but a mantel full of holiday cards or a wall full of personal photos will keep your heart full of warm memories as you get through the next few gray months.” Try pictures from a beach vacation, photos from your holiday celebration or silly photos of you and your friends. Maybe you also received a treasured drawing or painting from your favorite niece. Add that art to your collection of heartwarming mementos.