You’ve made it past “Blue Monday”, purportedly the most depressing day of the year, and nearly into February. Without bringing up how many more weeks of winter there are (maybe the groundhogs will tell us on Thursday!) you might be feeling the effects on your mood of short days and too little sunlight. Add any kind of stress – from work, to parenting to world events – and you risk not feeling like yourself again until spring.
This is not the time of year to let self-care move to the bottom of your priority list.
Here are some tips to help plan and put self-care strategies into action this winter – no matter how many more weeks of this weather we have.
1. Get outside and go for a walk. Plan to make fresh air part of your daily routine, or use as needed for a healthy coping strategy. Bonus: exercise of any kind is an overall mood-boost.
2. Give yourself permission to let go of things that put a strain on your coping skills or your family. (Unrealistic New Year’s resolutions, we’re looking at *you*.)
3. Delegate when you can – you can only take on so much. It will not only save you time and energy but help other family members develop skills and contribute.
4. Eat and drink healthily – while sugary treats, caffeine and alcohol may help you feel better temporarily, they aren’t long-term solutions.
5. Make sleep a priority. It’s difficult to cope when you’re not getting enough zzz’s.
6. Know your limits, be careful not to take on too much and don’t be afraid to decline commitments.
7. On the other hand, maintaining your social calendar may be enough to lift you out of a funk. Try volunteering or helping others if a big social engagement isn’t your thing.
8. Plan quiet times or days when you can relax and regroup, if you need to.
9. Pump up the jam – the music, that is. Music has the power to soothe, centre moods and rejuvenate spirits.
10. Insert your favourite way to take care of your physical and psychological wellness here. What will you add to your personal self-care plan? Share your tip below!
If these or other mental wellness strategies don’t work and you think you might be experiencing depression, seek help from your healthcare provider – treatments are available.
How do you practice self-care to fend off the winter blues?