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...
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!
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.
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!