As I write this, I am looking out the window at a dreary fall day with the forecast of snow in the immediate future. Winter can be tough, whether you have a mental health issue or not. The winter blues are real and can be big downer. Over the past couple of weeks, several clients have brought up concerns about how to maintain their well-being over the winter months. I have written about this before, but here are a couple of ideas to not just survive, but thrive over the fall and winter.
1) Take your vitamin D. Most Canadian are low on the vitamin as it is, but we definitely run the risk of not producing enough during the fall and winter months. A lack of vitamin D can leave us feeling down and sluggish.
2) Think about a light therapy. Light therapy lamps can be helpful for anyone who experiences seasonal affective disorder or clinical depression, but can also be beneficial for anyone who is feeling down and low in energy.
3) Find something to get involved in. Have an activity on the go that gives you something to look forward to. It’s a great way to connect with others, get out of the house, and have some structure through the week.
4) Embrace winter. Similar to the above, find an aspect of winter that brings some enjoyment. Maybe it means trying out cross country skiing or snowshoeing. If winter has a purpose for you, it won’t seem quite as long.
5) Fight the urge to hibernate. I get it, T.V., movies, Netflix are all really easy to get caught up in, especially when it is cold and gloomy out. Push yourself to stay in touch with friends and try hobbies/activities at home that don’t involve screen time (ex. board games).
6) Get Moving. Don’t let physical activity fall to the way side just because it’s chilly out. If joining a gym isn’t an option, take advantage of You Tube and the home workout movement. Your mental and physical health with thank you for it.
7) Watch the comfort food. One of the best things about fall and winter is the comfort food. Soups, stews, and pastas (or anything with carbs in it) can become go to meals as we try to keep warm. Pay attention to your portion size and make sure you are still eating a well balanced diet. Comfort food may taste good, but adding extra weight will not be helpful in boosting your mood or energy levels.