Who’s got the winter blues? For me, the slide down begins after the New Year and steadily declines building rapid speed from there, falling into the pit of the dreaded dead of winter. It’s that time of year when getting out of your warm bed is not for the weak, and trudging through every day life seems monotonous, exhausting, boring, and well- just hard. For many people, winter is a very difficult season to muster the strength to feel joy and excitement about much of anything. SAD struggle is real, people. It’s real.
If you are in that place with a heavy heart, unmotivated and listless, just waiting for a flower to bud despite it not coming for months- I get it.
So let’s work this mess out. Let’s try to fight these bitter blues with some intentional steps toward finding light in the dark of winter, okay? I’m going to actively indulge myself with the following choices, and I invite you to do the same if you struggle from the winter blues.
Is winter getting to you? Beat those winter blues with these helpful tips…
Pick three things you can be thankful for in the morning and at the end of the day.
WRITE THEM DOWN. Seriously. Keep a little journal somewhere near you at all times to write down those Thankfuls- big AND small. There’s something about the act of writing them down that makes more of an impact on our well being. We all know that gratitude is one of the greatest antidotes to suffering, right? It’s the best used weapon we all have in our arsenal, to conquer feelings of sadness or hopelessness. So starting and ending our day with focusing on such a simple task will have immeasurable affects on our psyche. If I’m having a particularly hard day, I will dive into the gratitude well more often. Positive thinking truly makes a difference, and documenting it will validate the good in your life. Come this spring, wouldn’t it be nice to read that journal and realize how you were able to see the bounty of blessings while you battled the blues? (Gotta thing for B’s.)
Do something EVERY DAY to take care of yourself.
And I don’t mean the things you already do. Pick NEW things that would be a treat to you, that you wouldn’t normally do. Are you a quick shower girl? Then switch to a long bubble bath. Maybe dive into that book you’ve been meaning to read that’s been sitting on your shelf for months. Or indulge in a special splurge at Starbucks even though you usually make your own java at home. Perhaps taking an hour to browse the bookstore is your cup of tea. What if you rented a movie just for YOU to watch after you put the kids to bed. Meet up with a friend for lunch or manage to get yourself to the gym despite your busy schedule. Spend 15 minutes in the SUN if it’s out. Take a walk on your lunch break- get fresh air no matter how cold it is. Surprise your husband/wife/partner with a secret late night massage or take the kids out for ice cream, just because. I could go on and on with ideas… be creative, be random, be intentional each and every day to do something for yourself. Consider it a treatment program that you signed up for, and must complete.
Pick your people carefully and spend time with them.
We all have people in our lives that are a little tough to take. Sometimes, we need to steer clear of them, especially when we aren’t feeling our best. I know this isn’t always possible, but oftentimes we can control our exposure to how often we are around them. Do what you can to minimize your time spent with people that seem to affect you negatively, or at least plan times as best you can to communicate with them when you are feeling strong so you can handle the interaction better. On the flip side, we all have people that lift our spirits. THESE are the people we want to reach out to, spend time with and connect with as much as possible. Make those calls, plan those hang out times, and allow the positive encouragement to fill you and feed you.
Shake up your schedule.
In the dead of winter, the hum drum schedule can take a toll on our enthusiasm for life. It rolls out the same itinerary every day, and that gets excruciatingly monotonous and tiring. It putters along as we go through the same motions every day, causing us to carry on without any excitement or zest for our lives. SHAKE IT UP! Do you eat the same lunch every day? Try something new. Do you always drive the same way to work? Go a different route. Do you make the same recipes every week? Create a new one. It can be as simple as that. Or dare to venture out into some bigger changes! Instead of picking the kids up from school and going straight home, surprise them with an outing to your local indoor pool! Pull together a girls night out for you and your friends. Take a day off of work and go see a movie or if you have a night free, have an impromptu dinner date with a close friend. It can be SO refreshing to add a change- whether big or small- to our daily drudgery.
Start something new.
You may be tired, and have no motivation to do anything other than what’s mandatory to keep life’s wheels spinning during these slow moving winter months, but THIS is the time to try something new. Take a risk and go for it! Sign up for that class you have wanted to take. Go to that book club that you’ve heard about through a friend. What new hobby are you interested in? Go buy the stuff- read up on it, and try it! What is something you’ve always wanted to do. Can you sign up for lessons? It’s worth the cost. Learn how to play guitar. Take an art class. Maybe you’ve been meaning to join a bible study, a moms group, a support group… DO. IT. Try a new form of exercise at your local gym. You get the idea, right? The new route you take will be invigorating and add new excitement and energy to your life. Promise!
These are things I will be doing to help battle my own winter blues. I do want to encourage you to reach out and seek help if you are suffering greatly from Seasonal Affective Disorder. This is a real thing, and I know people who suffer severe depression during these months. Please take good care of yourself, by looking into the treatments offered for this! There are many options that have proven to be beneficial. Don’t be alone in your battle, okay?
Here’s to making it through winter, my friends!
Take care of yourself.
Find your positive people.
Shake up that schedule.
Start something new.
We can do this!
(This post originally ran on The Mom Cafe)
About the author: Chris Carter is a SAHM of two pretty amazing kids. She has been writing at TheMomCafe.com for six years, where she hopes to encourage mothers everywhere through her humor, inspiration and faith. You can also find her work on Mamapedia, Her View From Home, Huffington Post, MomBabble, and Scary Mommy. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Google+.