5 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues this Season

The christmas season may seem warm, cozy and even full of cheer. But for an increasing number of Canadians and others in the northern hemisphere seasonal depression may begin to strike in these winter months.

With significant pressure to be spending time with our families and loved ones, the season of giving can be an extremely stressful time for anyone who experiences social anxiety or depression.

This doesn’t even begin to get into the financial struggles that come along with this time of year, the increasingly dark and dreary weather (lack of vitamin D is proven to cause mood issues) and the possible relationship or familial tensions which are exaggerated when we put pressure on ourselves to “have it all together”.

So how can we make the most of the season, whatever it may bring, and overcome those winter blues? Well, as a therapist who has worked with seasonal depression for years and also suffered myself with some of the symptoms experienced alongside the lack of sunshine…. I have come up with my top 5 list of tips for positive mental health throughout the winter season:

  1. Get active – it sounds cheesy and repetitive but people are at their most sedentary in the winter months and simply going out for a walk, doing that lunchtime yoga session or walking on a treadmill may be just the boost you need to get out of your winter funk.
  2. Socialize – when we experience stress our bodies have natural mechanisms that produce more oxytocin (the bonding hormone) and we crave the comfort of social interactions. Sometimes sharing your time with someone you care about can truly ease the burden of the winter blues.
  3. Ditch the Junk Food – When we are cold our bodies naturally want to pack on the pounds and keep us warm. It can also seem easier to grab something from the drive thru or eat that cake at the office christmas potluck….but by doing this we are actually affecting our blood sugars, moods and causing ourselves to feel lethargic – all of which contribute to the winter blues.
  4. Engage in Seasonal Mindfulness – With the season of consumerism and chaos we can forget about our normal routines and it is easy to neglect living in the present moment.
  5. Take your Vitamins – Ensuring that you get proper nutrients can be challenging in the winter months, one example alone is that we will get naturally less vitamin D as it gets darker and colder.

So what are you waiting for? Take care of yourself this season…and make the most of all of the amazing things that winter brings along with it!

Your friend and Therapist,

Jordan!