Now that the holidays are over and the bright sheen of a new year is (already!) dimming, it’s important to find ways to combat the seasonal blues that are so common in the winter. Cold weather, gray skies, and short days all consipre to dampen our mood; add in our lingering pandemic and it’s more complicated as we head into the winter months of 2021. Try these suggestions to help pull you out of the mid-winter (pandemic) blues.
You knew that was coming, didn’t you? I realize it may feel like the last thing you want to do, but it is the first thing you should do. Exercise doesn’t have to mean long sweat sessions in the gym (although that’s great!). It can simply mean a walk around the block or through a park, a yoga video with the kiddos, or even sledding. The key to surviving a new exercise regimen is to choose an activity that is easily accessible (don’t choose skiing for your exercise if you live in town), fun, and causes the least amount of friction to your schedule. Believing you are someone who exercises daily is essential to maintaining an exercise habit. So, start believing and take better care of your body and your mind!
Some days I think bears have it right, they sleep the cold, dark months away! There are some days it feels too dark, cold, and depressing to get out from under the covers. That being said, being sure to get enough sleep helps you to handle the rigors of your life. Women are more likely to experience disrupted sleep, affecting both your physical and mental health. Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, avoiding alcohol and/or caffeine in the late afternoon and evening, reducing or eliminating screen time in the evenings, and establishing calming, relaxing bedtime rituals (think a warm bath and sleepy time tea!) will all help improve your sleep. Improving your sleep will help you handle the blues of a post-holiday, winter, pandemic world.
Vitamin C…for connection! Staying connected in the midst of winter and a pandemic can seem like an insurmountable task. While it’s certainly a challenge, there are ways to create connection even within the challenges we face. Using technology to connect via text, phone, or video chatting are the easiest and most accessible—and often overlooked. Be intentional; set a time to Facetime your bestie. Call your mom on Sunday afternoons. Go for a walk at a local park (get your exercise and connect!). Connection can mean more than connecting with friends and family. Connection can mean connecting with nature, music, animals, or artistic pursuits that interest us. Snuggle with your cat, color, find a new trail to take your walk on, listen to your favorite music, or learn how to make your grandmother’s recipe for homemade noodles. Vitamin C!
Always Ask For Help
All of us experience blue periods (especially after the holidays and in the middle of winter) that can be handled with increased exercise, an extra chat with a friend, or snuggling our dogs. While these stragegies can be very helpful, they don’t work for all feelings of depression. Depression and anxiety are at an all-time high. Do not hesitate to ask for help if you feel you need it or if a close confidant or your family feels you do. There is help for you beyond what’s in your control. Reach out. If you are or know someone who is struggling, click here to find resources.