STAYING HEALTHY AND BEATING THE WINTER BLUES
Is your mental health affected by winter? Well you’re not alone.
Perhaps you’ve noticed that it’s getting dark out earlier and earlier. In many places, it’s cold. We have an old survival instinct to stuff ourselves with comfort foods, curl up in a blanket, and hibernate. But, how do we stay mentally healthy? These tips are designed for winter mental health.
- Listen to your body. Winter’s low light causes the brain to prepare for sleep more than it does in the summer months. Try going to bed 20-30 minutes earlier than usual. You might consider working in a power nap of about 30 minutes during the day.
- Feed your winter hunger wisely. Stock up on nutritious foods. Eat nuts, yogurt, sweet potatoes, crackers and hummus dip, and other healthy foods instead of junk food. You’ll boost both mental and physical health. So try and resist the urge to fill your body with unhealthy comfort food which ill harm you in other ways.
- Move! It’s fun to curl up in a blanket and read or watch movies, but our bodies still need movement for well-being. Set a timer to buzz every hour, and when it does, get up and walk around, stretch, climb stairs, or dance wildly. It’s a powerful mental health enhancer. Or otherwise get a friend to do some exercise together, even if it's a walk around the block; doing exercise with someone else helps to motivate you to move when you're feeling unmotivated.
Try these, and see if they help create positive thoughts, healthy emotions, and the energy to resist hibernation. They could boost your mental health over the winter.
If you happen to be feeling the winter blues here are my favorite ways to lose the winter blues...
GET ENOUGH SUNSHINE
Seriously, get as much sunshine as you can and turn on the artificial lights when you can't. However, what is known is that exposure to light, especially sunlight, plays a huge factor in moderating your winter blues.
Think about spring. Close your eyes. Really! Try this:
- Close your eyes.
- Visualize sunny skies,
- hear the sound of birds chirping,
- taste the fresh squeezed lemonade,
- smell the blooming vibrant flowers, and
- feel the touch of a warm gentle breeze against your skin and
- the sensation of a magnified emotional state of joy and happiness, now!
For me, visualization does help it reminds me that soon the bright skies, warm outdoor air, spring rains and flowers will come again. Hope is empowering.
Expect to have hope rekindled. Expect your prayers to be answered in wondrous ways. The [winter and] dry seasons in life do not last. The spring rains will come again. ~Sarah Ban Breathnach
BOOST YOUR BLISS EQ
If the visualization trip doesn’t oust those stubborn winter blues, turn it up a notch and boost your bliss EQ (Emotional Intelligence). Whether it’s winter, spring, summer or fall, being self-aware and managing your feelings and emotions will better inform how you experience life, what you are thinking and how you acting.
Having the capacity to be self-aware and identify what fuels you and lifts you up will squash negative energy and harness positive feelings and emotions that will go a long way towards ousting your winter blues and boosting your bliss EQ.