Winter can be a difficult season for many of us.
The days are short. The nights are long. Colds are in full swing and work seems to pile up for people of all ages. When you include the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic and changing holiday plans and traditions, this year’s winter season can feel overwhelming.
While there are many people who deal with seasonal depression, even those of us who usually don’t struggle with the ‘winter blues’ need to take extra precautions this year to keep both mentally and physically healthy.
Some ways the winter blues can show itself is through sleeping difficulties, lethargy, overeating, irritability, feeling unsociable and just feeling down. If you or your child are experiencing these, pay attention to these 5 practical steps to help you battle those winter blues.
Let the Sunlight In
Sunshine is more important than you might think! Just taking the time to go outside during the day, for recess, a lunch break, or an early evening walk before it gets dark can change you or your child’s mood drastically. Even just opening up the blinds can help your family get more exposure to natural light and help your brain function more healthily.
Believe it or not, exercise doesn’t just help strengthen your body physically, it helps you mentally as well. Exercise has been shown to help fight depression, anxiety, stress and many other mental illnesses.
Celebrate the Little Things
This year has had a lot of disappointments for many people. COVID has cancelled family vacations, changed the way our kids go to school, changed the way we interact with others and is now threatening our holiday plans.
In the midst of all of the disappointment, find a way to celebrate the little things. Plan a weekend movie night with the family. Make decorating for the holidays a big family event. Have family adventure days where you go for a hike or explore a new park.
Although this year’s celebrations might not be the same as years before, find ways to make them special and unique to you and your family.
In the same way that physical exercise helps your physical and mental health, what you eat also impacts more than just your physical body. Eating a healthy diet that is high in vegetables, fruit, and whole grains will help your overall mental wellbeing.
If you find that you or your child are really struggling be sure to reach out to friends, family members, counselors, and/or health providers. You are not alone. There are people who are here for you and ready to help you in whatever way they can.
If you feel like your child is struggling with depression or any other mental health disorder, you can call us to make an appointment with one of our providers who provide behavioral health visits or with our psychiatrist, Dr. Steffi Mendoza.
We are here to help you keep your winter from being blue!
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