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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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,
You Could be Making your Kids Anxious…and this is Why
Lately anxiety has become a buzzword. It is used in varied situations and people place the term “anxiety disorder” on anyone who shows a symptom of “nervousness”. Many know that I currently do child and youth therapy in my practice and is an area that I absolutely love. I believe children are the pathways into tomorrow and we need to build them up… but one thing I feel like I do fight against is the notion that because a child feels a healthy amount of nervousness before a test, that they have a clinical type of ANXIETY.
Even in the DSM 5 (the diagnostic manual for all disorders related to mental health) a diagnosis of a general anxiety disorder (not a specified one) means that a person must have excessive worry for at least six months and that the worry must be challenging to control as well as accompanied by some physical symptoms (3 at least, to be precise).
This is why I feel hesitant to label children who to me, are experiencing a healthy level of nervousness…as being anxiety disordered. Infact, below a certain age I will only refer to this as worry in front of the child and work on externalizing the worry as a 3rd person to help it make more sense for children e.g: your worried talk, worry dragon, worried person etc.
When we make buzzwords and then function around the label of disorder…it is my view that it feeds into making our children feel “less than” and they begin to believe that this “disorder” is intact, their destiny. But when we talk about anxiety symptoms as worry that tries to take over….and give kids tools for responding to their “worried talk” we empower them to cope with anxious symptoms and avoid being overwhelmed with anxiety disorders/ maladaptive coping in their later years.
If we explain to children, and understand ourselves, that every human being experiences the “adrenaline” response to a feeling of threat…and that these symptoms, while uncomfortable, are also normal….we give them great power by normalizing what they are going through. Life is not always comfortable and learning to cope with this now creates resilient children. If we as adults are not aware of our own nervous energy and our own anxiety…we can pass this onto kids. If we don’t have control of our own anxiety responses…we cannot expect our children or the children we encounter to be calm and in control of their own responses.
If you want more info about anxiety and tools to use in your own life and ways to help kids and others you know get a handle on anxiety… don’t forget to download my free guide you can sign up for it here: www.jordanburness.com/mindfulpathways
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Supplement Police Review
James Stewart Review
Tamy Smith Review
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