5 Ways to Combat the Winter Blues's featured image

Winter blues affect us all to some degree. So, be kind to yourself and ward off seasonal despair with a little self-care.

Self-Care and a Skein or 2 of Yarn

For many people, weather changes negatively affect their mental health. Fall to winter even more so, as we stay indoors out of the cold, limiting our exposure to the sun. Scientifically, less sunshine has been linked to a drop in serotonin, a chemical that the body produces naturally, and is said to help produce healthy sleeping patterns as well as boost your mood. Without it, we can feel tired, irritable, and depressed. Fight back the winter blues with a few tips and some self-care.

Go for a Walk
Get outside regularly to soak up some of that winter sun. It may be elusive, but the sun does shine in the winter. Bundle up and wear sturdy boots. Not only will you benefit by absorbing a little vitamin D, but you’ll also fill your lungs with fresh air and get your heart pumping. Exercise releases feel-good endorphins, which make you feel good and help ease anxiety and depression. A win-win-win!

Eat Something Green
Studies show that people who eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables are less likely to have symptoms of depression, stress, and anxiety compared to those who don’t regularly eat these nutrient-rich foods. Green things in particular are a crucial component of nutritional psychiatry and promote a healthy brain.

Listen to an Uplifting Podcast
Podcasts are entertaining. Through them, you can learn something new, relax, tweak your mindset and even change your views. Every podcast is different but there are so many out there that you’re bound to find one that appeals to your specific interests. Look for Inspirational talks that make you feel involved, inspired, and entertained.

If you’re a newbie, we recommend: Wonderful (husband-and-wife team, Griffin and Rachel McElroy talk about the things that are currently making them happy, however big or small).  Secretly Incredibly Fascinating (a whimsical, learning-focused comedy podcast is so soothing in part because it invites listeners to slow down and take a second look at things they take for granted).

Knit 1, Purl 2
Recent research shows that knitting has a measurable effect on calming anxiety and relieving stress. And, of course, if you are a knitter, you already know this. It’s like yoga, without all the stretching! It quiets the mind as you focus on what you’re trying to create. Try something small at first. A hat or a scarf is a good choice. Then, move on to something more challenging – some mittens or a pair of socks. Once you get over the initial frustration of learning a new skill, you’ll be amazed at how calm and happy you feel.

Call a Friend
Our friends and family can be a good stress buffer when needed. Typically, they can also help increase our sense of belonging, improve our self-confidence and help reduce stress and anxiety to kick winter blues to the curb. If you find you need something more, seek professional help. They’re only a call (or email) away and will help you find the strategies needed to cope.