Wintertime blues are more common that you think. Especially, if you live in an area that can go for weeks or even months without sunlight. It could also be a sign of brain overload. Which means you are doing too much. When was the last time you stopped and did nothing. Yes, you heard me right. Did nothing? Stop and take a breath, try this for ten minutes.
If you don't learn to slow down, the wintertime blues will only get worse. This could lead to depression.
What can happen, is that you just keep going and going. You don't realize you are even getting the wintertime blues. This is also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Many people suffer from SAD, this means you aren't alone. Unfortunately, not everybody talks about it. This leaves you feeling alone and isolated. Isolation is the worst thing you can do for depression.
Talk to friends and family. If that doesn't help, then talk to a professional. You don't have to go through this alone. The good news is there is help. Stay away from stereotypes. Those are based on very old beliefs. You are not crazy, and you can get through this.
Here are 7 tips to help you fight the wintertime blues:
- Don't isolate yourself. When you are feeling depressed you may feel more irritable. This may make you feel like you don't want to be around people. You may even hear voices that are telling you to stay in. This is actually the best time to be around friends and family. Even if you feel like you might not know anybody. Just being in a positive social atmosphere can help lighten your spirits. Pull yourself up by the boot straps and make yourself go out. You'll be glad that you did.
- Get outside and soak in the rays. You need natural sunlight, AKA, Vitamin D. A minimum of 20 minutes a day is best. If you can sit by a window during the day. You also need to get outside. If you can, go for a 20 minute walk. If you live in a place where it is too cold to get outside during the day, then invest in light bulbs that are natural light rather than fluorescent light.
- Get moving. Studies have shown that walking a minimum of 35 minutes a day has helped reduce depression symptoms. This is in people that have mild to moderate symptoms of depression. You can exercise inside or outside. Try a workout that will challenge you and get your heart rate up. I like to start the day with exercise. When I do I am much more focused, and in a really good mood.
- Keep things simple. You are led to believe that in order to get ahead, you must suffer. This is an old belief. Now, don’t get me wrong. If you want to get ahead, then you will have to sweat a little bit. But, not at the expense of yourself and loved ones. If you can’t afford a new car, then buy a used one. Don’t worry about what others will think. What matters is, you won’t be stressed out and feel depressed.
- Rest your mind. Set aside 10 minutes a day to breathe and close your eyes. I know you feel that is too much time. But, it really isn’t. Make sure you clear your mind. If thoughts come up don’t judge them, just let them be. Now, I know you’re thinking that is a waste of time. That’s because you have trained your brain to think that way. Start retraining your brain today, by letting it rest.
- Stop beating yourself up with negative self talk. This is something we have all done and it really is a waste of time. You tell yourself things that aren't true. Maybe these are things you heard growing up, or that were shouted at you in a prior relationship. Replace each negative thought with a positive thought. It can be as simple as, "Today will be a fresh start."
- Turn it over to God. When it feels like nobody else cares, it’s good to know that God cares. You aren’t meant to be perfect. You shouldn’t expect this of yourself. You also, shouldn’t hang around with people that expect perfection from you all the time. The next time you are feeling stressed out, say a prayer. Ask God, what would He do? Then, just sit there and breathe.
Don't let anyone tell you it's no big deal or that you should just get over it. If you are feeling bad, make sure that you don't try to hide it. There is nothing wrong with recognizing that you have a problem and getting help for it. Make sure to talk to a therapist about it. Asking for help is one of the bravest things you can do. This will help you learn about the source of your pain, and what you can do about it.
If you liked this article, there are more in Taking Care Of Yourself. There are many tips that will help you fell better about yourself, and start to live the life you want.
Lianne Avila is a Marriage & Family Therapist helping people in San Mateo, CA who are looking to create a life that is happier and more fulfilling. Please subscribe to Lianne’s newsletter on www.LessonsforLove.com to learn more about her services and expertise.