Often when winter rolls in and the dark, cold, shorter days begin it can really affect your mental health. Some individuals may suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder and may find though their mental health can be fairly good during the year, the winter may bring sadness, low energy, irritability and other negative symptoms. Others may have an increase in anxiety or depressive symptoms while others may just feel an increased sense of stress or dread. Here is a list of seven ways to help your mental health and hopefully stay feeling balanced when winter arrives:
- Stay in the present. Instead of wishing away winter or thinking back to the past seasons of warmth and light. You can try to be mindful of the here and now. Take mindful moments throughout the days pausing to take deep breathes, notice what is happening around you and remind yourself that this season will pass.
- Gratitude Practice- Keep a jar or journal where you can write down all the good things that happen daily. Review the things that you are grateful for when your feeling down and revisit those good moments.
- Go outside – Bundle up and go outside for a walk even if it is a short one! The fresh air and change of scenery can work wonders.
- Watch a funny movie – If the weather is keeping you in you can use a funny movie to lighten the mood. Curl up under a blanket in comfy jammies and get your laugh on!
- Stay social – Try not to get in a slump of just staying in bed. You could perhaps call a friend or family member can come visit and join you for that walk or movie or maybe you can go get coffee, go bowling, go shopping or have some other fun Friends can bring lots of joy, laughs, someone to talk to and other fun times.
- Exercise – Remember to keep on moving. Exercise gets you going and releases good endorphins. Walking, swimming, bowling, hitting the gym, skiing, skating, playing in the snow – so many possibilities!
- Try some light therapy. Try a lightbox to simulate daylight. The extra light may lighten the mood. * It is recommended you consult a doctor before trying light therapy as it may interfere with pre-existing conditions or some eye issues and there are some possible side effects.
These are just a few ideas that may help you to stay positive and emotionally well during the winter months.
Also, never be afraid to call for help. Contact a friend, family member or health professional if you find you are having trouble functioning, feel like your sleeping too often, if you’re having feelings of wanting to harm yourself or others. Asking for help is always OK and it doesn’t make you weak – it will make you stronger. You are important; so take care of you! Happy 2018 and may this winter bring you peace, goodness, warmth, and comfort.