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Tips for reducing winter 'blahs'

Pine Rest’s Elizza LeJeune, LMSW, shares some tips with us on how to prevent and/or protect ourselves.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich — The holidays are over, the credit card bills are in, the New Year’s resolutions are broken, and it’s really cold and gray outside. This combination can make many of us a little down and is often referred to as the Winter Blahs or Winter Blues. Pine Rest’s Elizza LeJeune, LMSW, shares some tips with us on how to prevent and/or protect ourselves.

  1. Practice better self-care to reduce stress effects of the cold, winter days and nights.  A healthy diet and exercise will naturally increase your serotonin.
  2. Green up your space. Plants – real of fake – can be a real mood booster.
  3. Increase your vitamin D intake, if recommended by your doctor.
  4. Go outside and enjoy winter activities like tubing, fat tire biking, ice skating, skiing, and snowshoeing. Check out the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex, Frederick Meijer Gardens or luminary lit hikes at Blandford Nature Center.  Google “outdoor winter activities near me” to find more.
  5. Listen to music, especially upbeat music that makes you feel good.
  6. Coordinate a few fun get-togethers. Planning dinners, indoor movie dates, girls’ nights, home karaoke and card games can offer an outlet for laughter and fun. We all need a balance of work and play in life. Fun also helps boost serotonin levels and encourage bonding with those we care about.
  7. Let the light shine. Exposing yourself to full spectrum lighting for 20 to 30 minutes mimics natural sunshine and can help make the days seem less dreary.
  8. Plan a vacation. Research shows that the simple act of planning a vacation causes a significant increase in overall happiness.
  9. Get some rest. Take a cue from nature and give yourself permission to slow down during the winter. 
  10. Set seasonal goals. The slower days of winter can be a great time to plan and prioritize, especially in those areas worrying you. For example, if you need to get a handle on your debt, look into debt consolidation and/or financial planning programs. 

Are you struggling with your daily activities or just don’t feel like yourself? 

You might be dealing with Major Depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  Some of the symptoms include loss of interest in activities you usually find pleasurable, irritability, fatigue, trouble getting along with other people, sleep problems, appetite changes and hypersensitivity to rejection.

Make sure you seek professional treatment from you primary care provider or a mental health practitioner. Many treatment options are available to help you feel like yourself again.

Visit Pine Rest’s website for more information about Depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder.   https://pinerest.org/depression/overview/ 

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