January is known to be one of the most depressing months of the year. It can also be one of the most stressful. Holidays are over yet their bills are arriving as family is departing. Summer vacation seems far away. The days are darker longer and the weather isn’t as inviting.
How do you beat the winter blues and the feelings that accompany them?
- Call someone. As the old saying goes “reach out and touch someone!” During the winter months, we are disconnected from outdoor activities. The temperatures keep us indoors and wanting to stay under the covers. If you are feeling blue, call/text a friend or a relative. Make plans to go out to a coffee shop, a local theater, or even to each other’s home. Not near someone- use Facetime! Facebook messenger also allows you to see each other through their app.
- Exercise. There are so many excuses we can make during the winter not to exercise. Our normal weather routines are disrupted but you can beat the blues by moving around. Exercise helps to release endorphins which assist with mood. Have steps in the house? Use them more. Have an elevator at work? Use the stairs. Use canned goods as weights. Whatever you choose to do- do it!
- Explore. Use this time to do things you may not do during the summer because it is too hot. Go to a museum. Take in a show. Check out local event/coupon sites for indoor events to check out.
- Get some sun! Going out into the sunlight for a few minutes a day can help to boost a low mood. Bundle up – put some gloves, a scarf and a warm hat on and face the sun!
- Keep your schedule. Do not stray from your routine. Get in your recommended amount of sleep per night.
- Meditate. Take some time to be mindful of your surroundings to find peace. Relax by breathing deeply, lighting a candle, or even taking a bubble bath, as long as you clear your mind off your worries and focus on what brings you serenity and gratitude.
These tips can help to boost a low mood. If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or another mental illness speak up. Let them know there is help available. Speaking with a therapist or psychiatrist can be an option. Speak with a doctor first before trying any medication.
Jacqueline Baumann, Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) who specializes in Mental Health