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  • Jan Gilroy

5 things to start doing now to avoid the winer blues

Updated: Nov 2, 2018

With the spooky season of Halloween behind us and the long march through winter ahead it can be great time to talk and think about our mental health. For many people, summer, with its long days and beautiful weather, can seem like an easy season to be in. Winter time can seem to have the opposite affect: hard, heavy and dark. Hopefully you are still coasting though on the last of the beautiful fall colors; which makes it a great time to prepare for winter.

Exercise:

We are all familiar with that pull at the end of the day, that soft, cozy blanket on the couch is screaming our names, and don’t get me wrong, sometimes you have to let the blanket win, but it cannot win every day. Moving our bodies is as important to our physical health as it is our mental health. Every time you get your sweat on, or just move around you increase the endorphins in your body and that can help boost your mood. The best way to get started is to find the time of day that activity works for you so that you remove the barriers to activity. Is the call of the blanket after work a little too loud? Then consider taking your gym stuff to work. Are you a morning person? Try to sneak a workout in before work. Once you get your exercise in you can enjoy the warmth and comfort of your blanket without any guilt.

Eat Well :

Winter begs us to seek comfort foods. Allow yourself to eat foods that warm you up and make your belly and brain happy, while remembering to keep a good portion of veggies and fruits in your rotation. Make cooking and eating fun; my partner and I enjoy “Soup-vember” where we explore and rate new soups all November long. We love sitting down to a nice bowl of warm soup; often fresh out of the crock pot. I am always looking for new soup recipes so feel free to add yours in the comments.

Socialize:

There is just something about short, cold days that make it so inviting to stay indoors. But we need that connection to other human beings to remind ourselves that we are not alone in this seemingly cold dark world. If you are feeling lonely; I can guarantee that your friends are too. See a friend or family member in person, talk to them on skype or on the phone; just reach out. Sometimes we may find ourselves in a space where we don’t want to reach out to a loved one, but staying indoors all alone sounds equally dreadful; in that case, grab a book and head to a coffee shop, wander around the mall, walk outside or go see a movie. Sometimes just seeing other people can help lift out spirits.

Find the Joy:

Believe it or not, there are some people in this world who LOVE winter, that is right, you heard me correctly, they LOVE it. You don’t have to turn yourself into Elsa the ice princess, but finding the things about winter that you enjoy can help make your winter a little brighter. Maybe you like how quiet it gets when it snows out, or you like to grab your sled and race down the hill like your 10 again. Winter offers opportunities to skate, ski, snow shoe, winter-camp, ice fish, and build snow people, the options are almost endless. If the thought of playing in the snow makes you cringe, you can still find ways to enjoy the weather by curling up with a hot cup of tea at your favorite local spot and watching the snow fall.

See the Light:

Whether we like it or not these winter days are just so short! With light at a premium you want to make sure you use every opportunity to get some exposure to the daylight. The sun gives us a little boost of Vitamin D which is essential to our mood! So find ways to take advantage of the light during the day by going for walks during your lunch break, planning a weekend day outside, or have a trip to the dog-park (even if you don’t have a dog). Grab those mittens and your scarf and head outside to get some sunlight.


Let’s combo these things!


Ok so this is a lot of things to do but thankfully they can be combined. Here are some ideas to get you started: a walk with a co-worker at lunch (socialize, exercise and see the light); inviting a loved one over for supper (socialize and eat well); going sledding with your loved ones (exercise, socialize, find the joy and see the light).


Talk to Registered Psychologist:


Sometimes we need help. Sometimes these ideas can just seem too hard or they just are not working; this might be an indication that you need some professional help. Reach out to your psychologist, and if you don’t have one reach out to me at janpsychology@gmail.com or 587-887-4047 am skilled at helping people pull out of their periods of low energy.

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