coping tool

Tips for Surviving the Winter Months

Everyone is prone to feeling more sad, sluggish, and tired during the long winter months.

Everyone is prone to feeling more sad, sluggish, and tired during the long winter months.

By Meghan Lorier, LPC

Endless days of gray skies, below freezing temperatures, and no greenery in sight - it can all make you feel a bit down. And for some people, the drabness of winter weather can make mental health symptoms more challenging. Read on for some practical tips to help beat the winter blues!

Another week of below freezing weather?! Is anyone else ready for some warmer and sunnier days? Though the winter brings the beauty of snow, the comfort of hot chocolate by the fire, and family gatherings during the holidays... winter can also bring sadness, isolation, and fatigue. Though the winter months may feel discouraging, there are things that we can do in order to help make those months life-giving rather than life-draining. Here are three ideas to make this winter a little brighter...

  1. Sunlight - Even if it is only for a few minutes each day, natural sunlight (even when it's cold!) can improve our mood and energy level. Whether that's walking your dog or spending a few minutes outside during your lunch break - anything counts! If natural sunlight seems too hard to find each day, you can also purchase a sun lamp and put it somewhere such as your bedroom or office. Any sunlight is better than no sunlight!

  2. Exercise - Exercise is another way to boost our mood and is effective in improving happiness and self confidence. Exercising during the winter will fight against the temptation to hibernate and isolate from others by increasing your energy level during the day and the added bonus of a better night’s sleep. This could be anything from a trip to the gym, a 30 minute walk after work, or an at-home video workout. 

  3. Community - Community is another important factor to surviving the winter months. It can be easy to avoid people when we will discouraged or sad, but prioritizing friendships and social connections is crucial to improving your mood. We all want to feel loved and accepted, and in order to feel those, we have to be willing to be in relationships. Make it a goal to spend time with a loved one once a week and see what that can do for you!

I know that habits or new things can be hard to start when you’re already feeling sad, have low-energy, or just feel pessimisstic. However, trying at least one of these tips in the next few days might truly turn around the winter blues for you!

If you notice that your mood is worse in the post-holiday season between December and the end of March, and need help coping - please don’t hesitate to reach out! You can call me at at 630-480-0060 x. 708 or email me at

"Dear Eating Disorder": Breaking the Eating Disorder Cycle, Healing and Recovery (Part 4 of 4)

ED blog #4.jpg

by julia vickers, almft

Dear Eating Disorder,

I know we’ve thought about having a secret relationship indefinitely, but I’ve learned more about you recently and I know you have tried to protect and care for me, but I am learning new ways to take care of myself and there isn’t a whole lot of space for you anymore.

Breaking the Eating Disorder Cycle:

Healing and Recovery

I remember when it came time to make a New Years resolution, something had to change. There were a two things on my list that year: You must eat normal meals everyday. Share your secret. I knew these two resolutions would help me on a practical level with breaking the restricting cycle.

I had read enough information by this point to recognize that I was destroying my metabolism which would only lead to continual yo-yo weight gain and loss. If I destroyed my metabolism, my whole body and mind would continue to suffer which would allow my disordered eating to take center stage. This would hinder any emotional healing that I badly desired to happen but was horrified to face.

Second, I had to tell someone. My sister had moved home and I told her what was going on. Hearing it aloud was powerful. The allusion of all it falsely offered began to crumble. My ED’s thoughts were still a constant struggle but I had someone to be a listening ear. It was life-changing to not be judged. Feeling someone else not judge me helped me begin practicing what it felt like to accept myself struggles and all. To accept that trying is good enough and that sometimes trying again and again is all you have. I wanted to love myself and I wasn’t going to give up. While some parts of myself were easy to love, others not so much, but I knew I couldn’t be preferential with this love. All of me needed my love. All of me needed to be known and accepted.

Remember how I mentioned that I was learning new ways of taking care of myself? Well, I have made a few changes and they are here to stay.

6 Habits I slowly changed:

1.) I ate meals with people I loved.

2.) I Opened up when I felt insecure and want to binge or restrict. This took the edge off. Transparency was key.

3.) I wrote down what my ED “told” me and made new mantras such as: “Make choices because you love yourself”

4.) I drank more water. Staying hydrated helped me distinguish when I was hungry vs. eating for other reasons.

5.) I educated myself through researching the effects of eating disorders on the mind and body and committed to a “no short-cuts” lifestyle. (Absolutely no restricting)

6.) I rest more. I let go of feeling guilty about napping instead of exercising and decided to trust the signals my body was giving me.

If you need the support of a licensed therapist for disordered eating, or a difficult relationship with food - call julia today at 630-480-0060 x 704 or fill out the “Get In Touch” form on our contact page.

Help is only one step away!