Beating the Winter Blues
Self-Care for Season Depression
With the colder weather and less sunlight, we often find ourselves stuck inside for days on end. Top that off with the groundhog seeing his shadow and telling us we have six more weeks of winter, and it can take a major toll on mental health. Seasonal depression, or seasonal affective disorder, can start to creep in; some of the signs include decreased energy, trouble concentrating and depressed mood. We want to encourage you to be aware of it and prioritize caring for yourself.
Here are some ideas to help you navigate the dark winter days.
At Bear Creek, we are big advocates of getting outside and enjoying the world around you. Not only can getting out of the house be physically beneficial, but mentally and emotionally as well. Something just as simple as going out for a short walk, hike, or run can help clear your mind and help improve your mood.
If being outside in the cold isn’t quite your style, you can get out for a scenic drive or plan to watch a sunrise or sunset from the comfort of your warm car listening to your favorite music. You can also go to the gym to get some exercise and endorphins. Or just a change of scenery by spending time at a local café or coffee shop with a book or a friend are also great options. What’s important is finding a way to change your surroundings and get some breaths of fresh air.
On the days when it’s harder to get out, there are things you can do from the comfort of your home to help boost your overall mood. You can make a cup of coffee or tea and light a candle or diffuse some oils. Open the blinds to let the natural light into your home or workspace. Listen to a podcast or read a book, either for enjoyment or personal growth. Journaling is another avenue to gain perspective for yourself and the things going on in your life. Take some time for meditation and personal affirmations to pour into your soul. These are great ways to create a relaxing environment and be more aware of your feelings and connect with them.
Routines and habits are great tools to help you take some time to focus on your needs for the day. This can be a simple routine such as making yourself breakfast every morning or an evening skin care routine. Drinking plenty of water and eating nourishing foods can go a long way for helping your body and mind. Having a routine is something that can help you to re-center. It can be helpful when you are going through those tough seasons where it feels hard to get out of bed.
You can also pick up a new hobby. Maybe you want to spend time crafting, drawing, or painting. You can learn a new instrument with online videos or find a local music teacher. Perhaps you want to try some new recipes or baking. Whatever you try, have fun with it. Lifelong learning and having a growth mindset are great for your brain.
With all these ideas, start small. Choose just one thing to try this week. Be gentle with yourself in hard seasons. We would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge that sometimes seasonal blues can turn into a heavier depression. Finding someone to talk to and be open and vulnerable with can be necessary. Seeking professional help is always a commendable choice. It is one that honors that you matter and are valuable.
It’s important to remember all through the year, but especially during the winter months, to take care of yourself. It is easy to fall into the pits of seasonal depression, but self-care can do wonders for your mood and outlook on life. Because you are worth caring for.
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By Kaitlyn Mininger. Kaitlyn is a part of Bear Creek’s Marketing team. Kaitlyn loves to be outdoors hiking or on the softball field, where she is currently playing for Bridgewater College. She is studying Health and Exercise Science and Psychology to later pursue a masters degree in the Science of Athletic Training.