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8 Ways to Thaw Away the Winter Blues

Blog Post Written by Child and Adolescent Counselor Kavita Adatia.

If you feel lethargic, down, and energy is depleting like an old phone battery, you are not alone. Though winter months are accompanied with holidays, a new year, cozy sweaters, and delicious hot chocolate, it is understandably a hard time for people. A small population (about 4 to 6 %) is diagnosed with SAD (seasonal affective disorder). Individuals diagnosed with SAD experience a significant shift in their moods when the days shorten. Although you might not have SAD, it is not out of the ordinary to feel down and in the dumps during this time of year. Fortunately, there are eight things you can do to thaw away those winter blues. Continue reading to learn how:

1.      SPEND TIME OUTSIDE/LET IN THE LIGHT.

During winter months, days shorten and nights lengthen.  Though it might be cold outside, consider spending time outside when the sun is out. It is extremely common to feel like staying inside in on a cold and snowy day. However, doing so means we do not get exposure to the sun, and this is one of the ways we can get vitamin D. There are many fun things to do outside, and your town may have some fun local events planned.

2.      GET SOME EXERCISE

It can be tempting to stay idle inside, eat to our hearts content, and not be active. After all it’s cold, you are low on energy, and the thought of putting on all those layers of clothing to go outside can seem like a chore. Do not let the fact that it is cold outside keep you from your exercise routine. Exercise releases the feel-good chemicals, endorphins, in our brain. The release of this chemical works similarly to how morphine works in our body and triggers a positive response in our bodies.

3.      EAT NUTRITIOUS FOOD

A low mood and poor sleep habits can entice us to reach for those foods high in carbs and fat. Instead, keep a healthy and balanced diet during the winter months to improve those down in the dump moods. Your diet should include foods like lean proteins, dark chocolate, bananas, berries, turkey, berries, and foods with Omega 3 fatty acids, folic acid, vitamin B12, and vitamin D.

4.      GET ENOUGH SLEEP

Adequate sleep is key when it comes to thawing away the winter blues.  Furthermore, eight hours of undisturbed sleep can help lessen low moods caused by the winter months. On the other hand, getting too much sleep can make us feel sluggish and more tired than usual. The solution is to keep a consistent bed time schedule and prepare an area that is conducive to a good night’s sleep.

5.      SEEK THE LIGHT

Light therapy is a very popular treatment for those who have SAD and can also help you if you struggle with the darkness that comes with winter. The bright light from a light box mimics the daylight from outside. If you are considering a light box for your winter blues, consult with a healthcare specialist or counselor to determine which light box best serves your needs.

6.      GET INVOLVED IN AN INDOOR HOBBY

Getting involved with a hobby can alleviate boredom and restlessness during the winter. If you used to write, draw, read, or do arts and crafts, and haven’t for a while, now is the time to resume. Winter time is also a great time to start something new, so if you have been eyeing that musical instrument you got for Christmas, now is the perfect time to start!   

7.      SOCIALIZE WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY

The winter months may tempt us to keep to ourselves, but spending time with friends and family may be just what the doctor ordered. Consider scheduling some time with people who energize and lift your mood when you are feeling down.

8.      SEE A COUNSELOR

If you still find yourself struggling with low moods during the winters and have tried everything such as light therapy, exercise, getting enough sleep, and keeping a balanced diet, talking to a mental health counselor can be a great next step. A counselor can work with you to determine the best ways to work with low energy and low moods, and can also customize a treatment plan that works for you. The most popular treatment is cognitive behavioral therapy which involves teaching you how to change your thinking in order to improve the way you feel. If you would like to see a counselor, head on over to: http://www.holdinghopeservices.org/about-us/ to schedule an appointment with one of our talented and caring clinicians!

 

 

 

 

Let Go Of Envy

Envy creeps into all of our lives from time to time. Recently on social media I saw someone’s successful project of something I really am interested in completing.  For just a second (or two) petty Julie thought “I’m not going to like that post” as if the person even cared or as if I wouldn’t be disappointed in myself for letting envy get the best of me.  Thankfully, my better angels prevailed and I liked the post because I do wish others well and hope for people to be successful.  I reminded myself of these three things to help tamp down any envy.

·It isn’t for you.

Whatever you may be seeing and desiring of someone else's – it isn’t yours and it isn’t meant for you.  I remind myself that it is OK that others have things I don’t or have an easier time in a situation than I do.  What others have is not mine and has nothing to do with me.  They have their journey and I have mine.  Someone else’s triumphs do not take away from anything I have.  I am not less because someone else has more or has done more than I have.  I only need to concentrate on myself, what is mine and what lessons I am here to learn.

Do not judge or compare to other people’s highlights.

Many times, we are guilty of comparing ourselves to others.  Look at any social media and see all the happy times.  Sometimes it is like everyone is winning some award, or reaching some milestone or getting to go on some adventure and you might feel left behind.  Remind yourself that social media posts don’t give the whole picture.  The post may not tell you all the hours the person worked or obstacles a relationship struggled through or all someone gave up to save for their adventure.  Someone’s highlights is not the whole picture.  Even when talking with family and friends, there are likely pieces you aren’t seeing.  Focusing on what others have that you don’t, especially when you aren’t seeing the whole story is time wasted.

·         Have an abundance rather than scarcity mindset.

Focusing on what others have that you don’t is a scarcity mindset.  It is a feeling of fear that there isn’t enough to go around and somehow you are going to be left behind.  A scarcity mindset can lead to fear-based decisions and being disgruntled about all you don’t have.  Conversely, an abundance mindset is understanding that there is enough for you.  Once someone believes that what they are supposed to have they will have, the easier it is to be open to the possibilities and actually allow what is meant for you into your life.

 

Next time the envy train is trying to get you aboard, remember these tips!  If you’d like help living your best life, feel free to check us out at www.holdinghopeservices.org.

Compassion will aid your healing

I love the idea that compassion will aid in healing our sorrows and broken places.  I bet you are a compassionate individual - with everyone else - and forget to show yourself compassion.  Grieve for your broken places and show them compassion and love and your healing will accelerate. 

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