You are making dinner and look out your window to see the first fresh sheet of snow cover your yard. A sense of happy peace overcomes you. It is early December and there is all the magic of the holidays to look forward to. Fast forward to January 1st and you are now complaining because you are over the white stuff and very much looking forward to sandals and sunshine. We live in Michigan so we should be used to the cold winter months, but that doesn’t make it any less hard on us. It’s time we claim back those three months, which is why I am sharing, ways to protect your mental health during the winter months.
As much as snuggling under a blanket and binging your favorite show sounds perfect, that should be done in moderation. Getting up and moving is going to be key to releasing those happy feeling endorphins. Do you have a gym membership you keep meaning to use? Get in that car and go. Are you sick of seeing that treadmill collect dust in the basement? Get on it, girl. Even going for a walk or wrestling your kids are viable options. The key is to get up and move. If you physical health is taken care of, this will lend itself to protecting your mental health.
I know what you are thinking. This girl is crazy if she thinks I want to bust out my parka and freeze. I get it and agree. Michigan winters can be cold, but once you breathe in that fresh air, I think you’ll feel better. Force yourself to go outside once each day. This can be building snowmen with your kids or jamming to your favorite tunes while going for a mom only walk. We are not meant to be cooped inside all day by nature and acknowledging that part of you will do your body and mind some serious good.
Traveling can be whatever you are able to do. If you can make it work to fly to Florida for a week or long weekend, do it. My husband and I always plan a getaway weekend in early March or February. We go for two days and go to Chicago. Getting away for a few days feeds our souls and still rejuvenates us, even if it isn’t someplace warmer than where we live. No matter your circumstance, try to find time to get out of town. Lansing is close to many places that are easy day trips, like Grand Rapids and Detroit, and that may be just the thing you need to break up the winter months.
Winter Bucket List
Sometimes, having something to look forward to can make our hearts happy. We all know winter is coming so why not plan for it to be great? Make a list of activities you want to do. This list can be just for mom or for the whole family. Ours is usually both. I plan for manicures and shopping days for me and then kid friendly activities for the littles. Each weekend, we pick one of our activities to do. It is fun to know each week we get to check something off our list and it feels good to have something to look forward to.
Mama Meet Ups
Chances are your mom friends are feeling cooped up all winter as well. Why not break the cycle and grab lunch or go run errands together. If you prefer to stay home, take turns going to one another’s houses and bring the kids. My husband works a lot of Sundays, so my bestie and I take turns having playdates at one another’s homes. The kids play and we get to visit. It is usually an hour or so but always breaks up the day and just feels good. That adult time is important and getting to talk to someone that isn’t below 4 foot tall is good for the soul and for protecting mental health during a season that often leaves us feeling isolated.
Winter in Michigan can negatively affect our mental well being, but we have the ability to do what we can to prevent that. My challenge for you is to not let the winter blues win this season and take control by protecting your mental health. You mind, body, soul, and family will thank you.