January 20, 2021
I hope your week is finding you well. I feel like Tuesdays keep blindsiding me. So, here we are on a Wednesday, another week into the New Year. I wanted to bring up a very real and often overlooked topic; the winter blues, also commonly known as seasonal depression. I will start by saying if you are experiencing extreme signs of depression, I encourage you to consult a doctor and/or psychiatrist. There is never shame in getting medical assistance when it is needed. If you are feeling the general blues, I’m there with you.
Minnesota has turned to the blistery winter we expect. It’s cold, gray, and the sun is not our friend right now. Mid-January is typically when winter starts to get to me. It always takes me a couple of days to figure out what is going on, but once I realize the winter blues have set in, I have an arsenal full of ways to combat them. Below is my list of tools. Hopefully, you can choose a tool or two and make them work for you.
-A happy light- I put a light on a timer this year to turn on at 8 am. The light helps me begin to wake up and stays on until evening. When I need a dose of sunlight, I have a way to fix that.
-A physical practice- Getting up and moving releases endorphins that help get you out of the blues. Your physical exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous. Take a stroll around the block, practice yoga for an hour, or do a few reps using a light weight. Any movement will help
-Plants- There isn’t a lot of green going on out there in the snowy tundra, so having an indoor plant to take care of is a nice contrast.
-A creative outlet- When you keep the hands busy, it helps calm the mind. I have so many WIPs (works in progress) that there is never one far away and always one that holds my interest.
-A self-care routine- This could be as simple as taking a bath, creating a “Happy Box,” or settling in with a book. When it begins to feel like too much, have an act of self-care ready.
At the end of the day, it’s okay to take it easy and accept how you feel. We don’t have to push through and pretend that we are okay. As always, you are not alone. You will get through the yuck. Some days are just more challenging than others. Don’t hesitate to reach out when you need a friend. This community is here for you.