Tips and Tricks for Surviving Winter
Last week held the two most depressing days of the year. Because we are officially in the dead of winter. Its dark, cloudy, and cold. This season notoriously has negative impacts on our health and well being, including our mental health, our physical health, and our demeanor. We have to endure this for potentially up to four or five months, so there HAS to be a way for us to survive it. Otherwise, how could we go on?! Well, I am here to provide some of my tride and true trips and tricks for surviving this painful time of year. Hopefully, you find some connection with some of them!
1. Self Care
This is probably the most obvious tips, but also has the greatest diversity. In order to survive this season, do something that makes you feel good. For me that looks like taking a nice warm bath and having a glass of cider, going on a shopping trip, or reading a good book. Some of the things that are land on this list are also on my self care list, so you will hear more about those later! For others it could be taking a warm shower and slipping into clean sheets, could be cooking a decadent meal or going out for a fun night, or getting a manicure and massage! Do whatever you need, whether totally on your own or a group of loved ones, TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.
I also think its worth justifying spending a little more money on yourself this season because there is so much less free fun. In the warmer months it's so much easier to just step out the door and find free and joy filled fun. Plus, its totally worth it if it is going to help you get through winter! So go ahead, invest in that workout class, treat yoself to that massage, or allow yourself a shopping spree!
Maybe this is a new concept, maybe not. Hygge is a Danish and Norwegian word of experiencing coziness and contentment in cold winter months. We Americans have begun to use this word because we don't really have a substitute for it, but essentially we are trying to create environments of peace and tranquility to achieve a feeling of contentment. There are many suggestions for how to do this on freezing winter days, and my favorites are listed below!
3. Exercise and Eat Healthy
I mean, duh. Even if exercise is harder and less interesting in the winter, it is so important that we continue to take care of ourselves in that way. Our bodies have such a positive response to adrenaline release, and that has a trickle effect for our minds and emotions as well. I am not perfect in this category- I am way less willing to get out and run or head to yoga class when its freezing outside. But it is so important to continue those habits and keep up the good work. My simplest advice is to get out and take a walk around your building on your lunch break.
Maybe I am saying this just because we are almost to the end of our Whole30, but what we eat DOES matter! When we are eating more cards or sugars, we are more likely to feel lazy and lethargic. And feeling heavier in our bodies, will definitely impact how we feel all around. We won't be as willing to rise and face the day, to head out for a workout, or to even be willing to engage in self care activities. If you feel like you might be interested in exploring this option, I encourage you to look up eating plans and see if one fits you! You could look into Whole30, Paleo, Keto, vegetarianism or Faster Way To Fat Lost.
4. Get Away
This sounds extreme, but so many of you told me that moving to warmer sunnier climates super helped your mental health! There is a reason spring break and spring break trips are such a thing around here. Sometimes you just have to go stock up on vitamin D! So budget for that trip down to Florida, or Texas, or Arizona. Just spend a week soaking up the sun. I promise it helps to get you through until summer!
And if your seasonal struggles are that severe, maybe you do want to consider moving. Yes, that sounds super intense. But taking care of yourself is incredibly important, and the risks of depression and seasonal depression are super real. If you dread and struggle through winter, maybe you want to least consider what it would be like to change your environment. Just a thought!
5. Vitamin D or Sun Lamps
One of my best tips is to take vitamin D tablets. Maybe you already take a daily vitamin, but consider adding an extra vitamin D to make up for the loss of sunlight. Vitamins are harmless but truly improve your mood from the inside out by balancing out your body. Its so simple and inexpensive, but so so helpful!
Another incredible invention that I have heard about recently is sun lamps! For a while, I was working a job that had super dark office spaces and in the winter it was just depressing. Especially when you were arriving and leaving work when it was dark outside. Adding a sunlamp to my office allowed me to get a little sunlight, even if it was artificial. I have had friends tell me that spending 15 minutes a day with their sunlamp helps to improve their mood tremendously!
6. Talk to Someone
If you are struggling these months, I just ask that you don't struggle alone. Tell someone, anyone in your life, about what you are dealing with. They may not get it, but at least someone knows. And then it is important to find someone who DOES understand. Maybe this is a spouse, a friend, or a therapist. Again, the only thing worse than struggling is to struggle alone. The effects of struggling alone are severe and can have a lot of damage. So don't let yourself do it!! Struggling this time of year is more normal than you realize. Don't think you have to be alone!
Hopefully you found this helpful, if you have any questions or just need someone to talk to, feel free to reach out! I mean it when I say I never want anyone to feel alone!