Wintertime can leave us feeling hollowed out, tired, and disoriented due to longer nights and shorter days, and sometimes those feelings can lead to seasonal depression. For those that suffer with depression year-round, the coldest months can be a very difficult time to get through. As temperatures plunge, it’s important to take charge of your mental health and be proactive about staying healthy, active, and happy during this difficult time of year.
One of the best things you can do is try to focus on the positive things. If you aren’t a fan of cold weather and bleak grey skies, consider booking a brief vacation in a warm destination. Wait for sunny days and make plans to get outside and build a snowman with the kiddos, or walk the dog and enjoy the scenery. Doing what you can to promote positivity during winter will help you appreciate it more and will give you something to look forward to when the temps drop. Here are a few tips on how to do just that.
If you can find a way to stay active during the colder months, your body and mind will thank you for it. Get out when the sun is out and take the dog to the park, or take up a new cold-weather sport or activity, such as hockey, ice skating, or skiing. Bundle up and remember to stay hydrated, and don’t over-exert yourself on very cold days.
Get out of town
Living through several dreary days in a row can make you feel tired and low, so, if possible, plan a little vacation for the winter months. It will give you something to look forward to and allow you to get away from the bare branches and clouds for a while. Remember that these trips don’t have to break the bank; check online for discounted flights and hotel rooms (don’t forget you can use that AAA discount) and head someplace sunny and warm for a few days.
Eating a well-balanced diet can help you feel better and boost your self-esteem, so when cold weather comes, resist the urge to hoard all the junk food you can and stock up on ingredients for homemade vegetable soup, fresh greens, and fruit instead. If you’re not currently taking a vitamin supplement, ask your doctor about it.
Take up a hobby
If there’s something you love to do or would love to try, now’s the time. Longer evenings means you can put on comfy pants and stay home, so get creative and dig into a new hobby. Writing, drawing, sewing, cooking, or playing an instrument are all great ways to keep your mind active and satisfied.
Make it a point to reach out to friends and family during the winter months. Call someone and chat, write a letter, or send a message on social media. Keeping in contact with the people you care about will help you battle the blues and will give you an outlet if you start to feel more worrisome symptoms of depression, such as suicidal thoughts or the need to abuse drugs or alcohol.