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Winter Blues & How To Beat Them

Winter Blues & How To Beat Them - Kathy Most

Winter can be a tough time for many people.

The shorter days and longer hours of darkness can really affect mood and energy level. For those who don’t like the cold weather, that can have an affect as well. And of course, given the pandemic and rising cases, this will add more issues and stressors for people this winter.

People are anticipating feeling more isolated and stuck inside. Everyone is figuring out the best way to handle the holidays. Although we’ve collectively been dealing with this pandemic for about nine months, and we have adapted the best we can, this is still far from normal life.

So as we all hunker down for the holidays and the winter season, let’s discuss some ideas to help keep your mood and energy level as good as they can be. Even if you don’t typically have an issue through winter, keep in mind, this year could be different given all the extra stressors.

Here are some suggestions to try:

Movement/Exercise:

This doesn’t have to be a formal work out routine, any movement of your body can help boost mood and energy. This can be as effective as medication! A walk around the block, dance around your living room, some gentle yoga, any thing that gets you moving counts.

Vitamin D:

This vitamin (always check with your doctor first) can help supplement for the lack of sunlight we have in the winter months, helping to keep mood stable.

Get outside:

Real sun and time in nature always helps boost mood and energy. If you have any time during the day to be outside, even just for a few minutes, definitely do it. If getting outside is impossible, I would even try sitting by a window that gets good sunlight.

Sun lamps:

These lamps mimic sunlight and can help improve mood. You can put it next to you while working or watching tv, just 15 minutes a day can help. This link has an example and more information: https://verilux.com/products/happylight-luxe

Dawn simulator alarm clock:

These clocks slowly wake you up with light simulating the rising sun. This is great for people who have to wake up before the real sun rises.

Social connection:

This is especially important this year due to social distancing. You can keep physical distance, but stay socially connected. Either through outdoor get togethers (grab a blanket, space heater and/or fire pit), video/phone calls, start a text group chat with friends to stay in touch. Humans are social creatures, so it’s important to stay connected to friends and family.

Volunteer:

There are still online opportunities for volunteering and studies have shown that helping somebody else boosts our mood. If you have any time or resources to give, it could help you as much as the recipient.

Reframe:

Instead of focusing on the down side of winter, focus on any of the positives you could enjoy. A mug of hot chocolate, a cozy blanket by the fire, less busy-ness and running around, for example.

New hobby or interest:

Get a plant to take care of, find a new book series to read or show to watch (maybe have a friend watch it too and discuss), get a coloring book, learn to knit online-having a small project or interest can help you feel happier and more productive.

Cold weather gear:

If the cold weather affects you, make sure you have appropriate clothing and gear for it. Make yourself as comfortable, warm and cozy as you can.

For many, winter tends to be a slower time, often less productive.

Remember many animals hibernate in winter or at least are less active, go with your natural rhythms for the season. And remember that more sunshine and warmer temperatures will come, they always do.

If you could use support this winter implementing these tools, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I wish you and your loved ones a healthy, happy holiday season.

Be well.

Kathy Most
Therapist in Westfield, NJ
908-499-5491
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