Happy Belated Winter Solstice!!! It is officially winter time. I think there are two types of people: those that welcome winter with open arms and those that try to avoid winter like the plague. I am part of the latter. I enjoy the holidays, holiday movies, Christmas songs, and spending time with family. However, I can do without the cold weather, dark dreary days and snow (unless I can stay home).
The change of seasons, coupled with holiday stress and a sprinkle of a nationwide pandemic can take a major toll on one's mental health and wellbeing. I am here to tell you, you are not alone. Many of us may be feeling a little more down and tired, less social, maybe eating more (or less), just overall feeling blah. Here are a few tips to beat the winter blues.
Seek medical/mental health attention if your symptoms are significantly impacting your overall ability to enjoy life or your day-to-day functioning. Now is a great time to get your annual physical (if you haven't done so already) or check in with your therapist if you haven't done so in a while.
Get moving. It could be as simple as a dance break in your living room or a few laps around the mall. Exercise is sometimes referred to as "natures antidepressant" and has been consistently linked to improvements in mental health.
Get some light. Even though the days are shorter during the winter, try to get as much sunlight as possible. Open your blinds, bundle up and go outside, invest in a light therapy lamp.
Get connected. It is easy to isolate yourself during this time, don't do that. Bad weather and social distancing may make togetherness hard, but get creative. Set up a Zoom meeting with family and friends or attend a virtual game night or concert.
Acknowledge how you are feeling. You may be experiencing a wide range of emotions, its ok. It is also ok to not be ok during this time.
Make time for yourself. I know I said to connect with other people, but it is equally important for "me time." It is easy to get wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays, so make sure you are taking a break when needed.
Below are some emergency mental health resources. If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal ideations, please contact 9-1-1 or visit your local emergency room.
Philadelphia 24-hour hotline for mental health emergencies: 215-685-6440