Beat the ‘Winter Blues’ With These Proven Mental Health Tips

How to Take Care of Your Mental Health During Winter

For many people, the cold and dark days of winter are incredibly difficult, especially from a mental health perspective. It’s easy to hole up and hibernate all season long, which can lead to everything from a mild case of the ‘winter blues’ to full-blown seasonal affective disorder.

This winter, beat the blues and be more proactive about your seasonal mental health with these tips.

First, learn more about how winter impacts your mood and behaviors

You can’t properly take care of something you don’t understand, especially when that ‘something’ is your mental health.

Before you can get the most from the suggestions below, you need to understand how winter makes you feel and behave. Do you spend too much time indoors, eat unhealthily, skip out on exercise, withdraw from social events or something else?

When you understand the impact winter has on how you feel and how you spend your time, it’s much easier to create a mental health self-care plan that will work.

Add more light to your indoor environment

Vitamin D deficiencies are problematic for many people during winter, especially if you aren’t spending as much time in the sunlight as usual. When you aren’t getting enough of this essential hormone (Vitamin D is converted into a hormone once it passes through your kidneys and liver) serotonin levels in your brain are also impacted.

As a result of this simultaneous reduction in natural Vitamin D and serotonin, it’s not unheard of to feel depressed, sad and sleepy during winter.  If this sounds familiar, a Vitamin D supplement (ask your doctor to prescribe a dose that’s right for you), light box and more time outside will greatly improve your mental health.

Give yourself permission to slow down and embrace the pace of winter

It’s easy to feel guilty or unproductive when you’re trying to cope with winter. But, what would happen if you allowed yourself to settle into a slower pace of life during the season? Chances are, shedding the guilt will be great for your mental health.

If you have trouble slowing down, the next tip will help you get into the right mindset.

Cope with winter the Scandanavian way

Hygge (pronounced hoo-ga) is a Danish concept that roughly translates to feeling content and cozy by appreciating the simple things in life. Since hygge is all about your mindset, it’s relatively easy to incorporate it into your winter routine. Here are some examples of hygge in action:

  • Fill your home with soft blankets, rugs and other cozy fabrics.
  • Decorate with natural elements, like wood and houseplants.
  • Display your favorite photos that always make you smile.
  • Declutter and organize your workspace and home.
  • Light a bunch of candles, or the fireplace if you have one.
  • Take a long and luxurious bath. Extra mental health self-care points if you sip on a soothing beverage, like tea.
  • Make time for friends and family.

Each of these hygge-inspired ideas is bound to help you beat the winter blues, as long as you make a commitment to turning them into habits you can enjoy all winter long. Our caring therapists can help you and your family overcome life’s greatest challenges. Contact us today!