Winter in Belgium can be a challenge for expats. The short days, the seasonal depression, and the cold weather can all make it tough to adjust.
But don't worry—we've got you covered with these 8 tips for coping with the winter blues!
1. Get outside. Belgium is a beautiful country, but it's easy to forget that when you're locked inside all day. Take a walk around town or go for a hike in the woods—it will help you feel more connected with nature and take your mind off of things.
2. Plan something fun for later in the day or week. It's easy to let yourself get bogged down by work, but try planning something fun for later in the day or week: maybe it's going out with friends or networks, getting a massage after work, or even just watching some Netflix at home after dinner. You'll feel better knowing that there's something fun coming up soon.
3. Eat healthy foods when possible—but don't worry about eating too many calories or gaining weight because of winter weight gain myths! Fruits like bananas and apples are great sources of energy that will keep you warm all day long without adding unnecessary calories or fat content from unhealthy foods like chocolate bars or ice cream sundaes!
4. Find a way to stay active during the cold months. Exercise helps stimulate your body's production of endorphins, which help combat feelings of depression and anxiety. You can also try meditating or doing yoga if you prefer a more relaxing activity that will still give your body a chance to move around and get some fresh air outside!
5. Create a self-care routine. Do you know those days when you just don't feel like getting out of bed? Or maybe you have trouble getting motivated to go out into the world? Try creating a self-care routine that works for you —and stick with it! For instance, maybe it's taking a bath every night before bed or doing yoga every morning before work. Do whatever works best for you.
6. Get out of the house as often as possible—even if it's just for an hour at a time. Being cooped up indoors all day can make anyone feel depressed and blue, so make sure that even if it's just once or twice every week (or even once every month), you get yourself out into nature or take advantage of any opportunities that come up where there are other people around so that you can spend some time interacting with others face-to-face rather than just interacting with yourself or the screen.
7. Drink hot chocolate. Winter means it's time for hot chocolate! It's a perfect drink on those cold Belgian nights because it warms you up from the inside out. You can find hot chocolate everywhere in Belgium: cafes, restaurants, grocery stores… all sorts of places serve it! And if you're feeling adventurous, try ordering chocolat chaud au lait—that's hot chocolate with milk! It might sound weird at first… but trust us: once you try it, you'll want more.
8. Learn how to cook something new! If you love cooking, this is a good way to pass the time and get some exercise at the same time. If you don’t like cooking, try signing up for a class or joining a club at your school or community center—this will help keep you active during these dark months as well as give you some new skills that can be used throughout the year.
Winter blues are a common problem for many people, but they're not just a bad thing.
Winter is a season of reflection. The cold weather makes us want to curl up with a warm cup of tea and think about our lives. We can use this time to think about what we want to change and how we can make those changes happen.
And when you take the time to reflect on your goals, it's much easier to stick with them during spring and summer as well.