by: Bismah Khan, TLLP
Here we are in the middle of winter: The holidays have passed and many of us are counting the days until spring. For some people, winter is a time they look forward to. From skiing to sipping on hot chocolate, winter can be thrilling, comforting, or both! For others, winter can bring on the “winter blues”, and it makes a lot of sense why! When it is cold and snowy outside, it is hard to see friends and family, difficult to go for morning walks, and the sun comes out for only a couple of hours each day. This can be a challenging time, especially if you already struggle with mental health. Fortunately, there are few ways to help improve your mood:
Here are some tips for those difficult days:
- Turn those lights on: When the sun is nowhere to be seen, turn the lights on in your home. Replace old and fading lights with bright LED light bulbs. Light therapy is also a great option. Investing in a lightbox (which is specifically designed to mimic outdoor light), is only an amazon order away! Light therapy can help you wake up in the morning and be useful throughout the day when you’re feeling down or running low on energy.
- Exercise: Exercising during the warm months is simple. You can put on some gym shoes and walk around the neighborhood as you soak in the sun. While it may seem difficult to have that same experience in the cold months, it is possible! You could go skiing with your family, sledding, or even put on a warm coat and walk on the soft and bright snow outside your home (bonus if you see some adorable paw prints as the animals enjoy their snowy walks, too). If you do not want to leave home, try joining an online exercise class!
- Reach out: You may think others around you are doing just fine, but it is very likely you know someone who is also struggling with seasonal blues. While driving far to see friends may be difficult, a phone call can really lift their spirits. There are lots of virtual options for social connection, such as playing online videogames, trivia or puzzles. Alternatively, watching a good movie with a cup of tea is a great activity you can do with friends, without needing to be in person. Try applications such as Teleparty. They allow you to watch shows and movies in real time with friends online.
- Therapy: If you’ve tried all these tips but are still feeling down, that’s okay! Reaching out to a professional for support is a great step toward feeling better. A therapist can help you figure out why you are feeling down and guide you toward feeling like yourself again. Therapy is great all year round and can be a part of your routine self-care!
Group puzzles: https://www.jigsawexplorer.com/
Exercise classes online: https://www.onepeloton.com/app
Watching shows online together: https://www.teleparty.com/