The winter can be a tough time for everyone. If you find yourself experiencing winter blues, you are not alone. Here are a few ideas and thoughts to combat these feelings:
Find the “upward spiral”
Alex Korb refers to depression as a “downward spiral” that leads to less and less motivation and momentum. Create an upward spiral, instead, by setting small goals for yourself. Keep track of the wins and your motivation will start to grow. If your goals feel too big, make them smaller (like getting out of bed or brushing your teeth). Your first accomplishment can be taking the time to read this article!
especially if the sun is out. Vitamin D can do wonders for your mood and mental health. Even if it is freezing outside, bundle up like you are going skiing and spend time outdoors. Being outside calms your nervous system and keeps you grounded in the present.
Tend to your body
Take a walk or a jog. If you don’t like to exercise, try stretching or dancing to your favorite song. Find cold exposure (cold shower or walking outside briefly without coat). Take a few deep slow breaths in and out. Sing, hum, or gargle. Consume probiotics (Greek yogurt, kombucha, etc.). Get a massage. Ask for a hug.
Name three things you are thankful for right when you wake up and right before you go to bed. Think about happy memories. Meditate on the Word and put worship music on to help you feel gratitude.
Do something for someone else
There is joy in blessing others. Get a glass of water for someone, write a note, or send a text that you’re praying for someone.
Let others in
Name a few people you can reach out to for encouragement when you need it. It helps to share your struggle with trusted others in your life. Socializing, laughing, or smiling also improves your mood.
Practice good sleep habits
Go to bed and wake up around the same time each day. Avoid screens or bright light at least two hours before you go to sleep. If you have trouble falling asleep, write down anything on your mind (worries, to-do lists, memories, questions, etc.) This allows your brain to rest knowing these thoughts have been accounted for.
Find your triggers
Are there certain times you tend to feel more depressed? Certain thoughts you dwell on, people you’re around, places you visit? Maybe after watching TV or spending time on social media? Pay attention to any themes when you’re feeling blue and reevaluate the time you spend in these areas.
Recognize your feelings are temporary
How you feel will come and go. Depression likes to tell you “I’ve always felt this way and I always will” but it’s not true. Name your feeling and honor it, but know it isn’t in control of you and will come and pass.
Go through Keys to Freedom
Depression may have a real hold on you and this study has great tools for renewing your mind, meditating on the Word, finding healing and becoming free. Keys to Freedom is a powerful study. If you are interested in learning more about it, check out https://www.clearview.org/keys/ or watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GqrTlaLXVI
Live in your season
In a season where night is longer than day, what areas of your life do you need to embrace the darkness and let yourself grieve, lament and heal? Take a page from nature’s book and take time to rest, care for yourself, and experience a slower pace of life. Sometimes winter blues can be our body’s way of asking us to rest and slow down.
Seek more help
Sometimes you need more help and that is nothing to be ashamed of. Consult with your doctor to see if medication could be helpful. Find a therapist who can help you navigate your depression and identify anything keeping you stuck.
Korb, A. (2015). The Upward Spiral. New Harbinger Publications.