Winter has been extra cold and extra white in this neck of the woods. When the thermometer dips so can our motivation. I know I’m not alone when I say I need an extra boost of energy to stay motivated and push past the winter blues.
The condition commonly called, “winter blues,” manifests with feelings of sadness, lack of motivation, overeating, irritation, as well as other attributes. It comes on with minimal outdoor activities, lack of sunlight, and short days. It depletes energy levels and mental stamina to be productive. Can you relate to any of this?
The “blues” are an informal term in the winter, but for many, they suffer from a diagnosed disorder, SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Many people I work with deal with variations of depression, and SAD sweeps through households in the winter months. People with SAD have a change in energy with the change of seasons, specifically during winter months. Symptoms such as low energy, depression, lose of interest in common tasks, etc. (according to mayoclinic.org, contact your physician for support)
Is SAD or the “winter blues” hovering over your household this winter? I find my household can feel really heavy during the winter months. Often times it’s not until someone else points it out that I realize I need to make a change in order to get re-motivated.
Now, I’m not a doctor or psychologist, therefore I don’t diagnose or prescribe, but I deal with my own amount of winter blues and depression symptoms. The items below are not prescriptions, but ideas that have helped myself or clients push past, or push back, their blues.
A few ideas to help push past the winter blues:
Maintain a regular sleep schedule – our bodies do best when we stay consistent. If you nap, limit it to a power nap.
Get a Therapy Energy Lamp – our brains and eyes need sunlight. A lamp may help supplement.
Plan an activity out – don’t let the cold dictate getting out of the house. Plan an event with friends or kids and be intentional about doing things that bring you joy.
Purge a closet – this may not appeal to those who lack energy, but it may be the best medicine for some. Once you get started, it feels really energizing to get unneeded items out of the house. Invite a friend over to help or enlist the kids. View my services here.
Talk to someone – a friend or therapist can help give perspective when things seem gloomy. Support is key all year round.
Be active – you may not have the energy to workout, but even doing five jumping jacks could help you get the blood flowing. Consider inviting a friend to do something active together. There are many quick workouts you can stream online to give you direction or find an indoor court to play on. Our minds are best when the body stays active.
Help others – when you bless others you actually energize yourself
Plan a get-away – if you can travel to the sunshine that’s ideal, but even taking 24 hours to get out of daily routines can make a big boost in your mental state.
Take the kids out of the house – everyone goes stir crazy when the kids can’t play outside. Go to a museum or indoor park. Find a friend to have play dates. For their sanity and yours, plan outings.
Lighten your space – open the curtains to allow as much natural light into your home and purchase some fresh flowers to have on display. A little hint of spring and vitamin d can be good for the soul.
Eat a balanced diet – our household always jokes about putting on ‘winter weight’ because we crave hearty foods on cold days. Be sure to eat foods that are rich in nutrients which help our brainpower and give us energy.
Which one of these ideas could help you this winter?
We are all created differently and have different reactions to seasons and activities. If you suffer from symptoms related to depression or SAD and haven’t seen a professional, please commit to getting an appointment today. Even talking about it can make a difference.
For others who simply are down and out because it feels impossible to push past winter blues, take action and don’t let this season have power over your mental or physical health. Commit to one action step today and add energy back into your day!
What helps you push through the winter blues?
Michelle Kuiken is your organizer and coach who can support you to find ways to push through the winter blues with more order in your day, home, and mind. Contact her today to learn about next steps or to share where you need support.