Fight the Winter Blues
Many people feel a slump in their mood after the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. The expectations of holiday events, the joy of spending time with loved ones and the frantic chaos can lead to a feeling of let down with the new year. It is important to check your emotional well-being and take preventative action during this time of year to stay healthy and make the most of 2016. There are a lot things you can do to help your emotional wellbeing during the winter doldrums. As the excitement and anticipation of the holidays comes to a close, it is normal to feel a sense of gloom. To work against this, try making plans for something soon. Plan time off, go to a concert, take a class or redecorate a room. Many people find joy in learning new hobbies such as crocheting, playing an instrument or cooking. Find something that you can look forward to and start planning for it. When we focus on the negative, or on things we can’t change, we tend to have a poor outlook which alters our mood. Try to stay grounded in the positive by practicing the art of gratitude. Melanie Greenberg, of Psychology Today, suggests gratitude goes hand in hand with mindfulness in its focus on the now and appreciating what we have, rather than wanting more and more.
Practice gratitude by journaling three things you are grateful for each day or write a thank you letter to someone who has made a difference in your life. To celebrate this new year, start with any empty jar and fill it with notes about good things that happen so next New Year’s Eve you can think back on the wonderful things that happened.
Our mental health is closely in line with our physical health. Sometimes after the busy holiday season we notice we feel run down and tired. Take this time to focus on being healthy and take good care of your body. This involves eating a healthy diet, getting restful sleep and staying active.
This can be hard to do during a long, cold Wisconsin winter, but with some creative thinking you can make healthy changes. Try visiting the local indoor winter farmer’s market to find healthy food items or visit nutrition.gov for ideas about shopping, cooking and meal planning. Seek out the exciting winter fun Wisconsin has to offer such as snowshoeing the beautiful state parks or ice skating on the local rinks. Taking part in outdoor activities to get sunshine can help with restless nights.
Planning for the future, expressing gratitude for the now and taking care of your health can help you to have a peaceful and joyful New Year. If you notice that you are feeling continued sadness or depressed mood, seek out a health care provider to be checked for Seasonal Affective Disorder or other mental health diagnosis. These conditions are treatable with help from professionals.
-Lindsay Rick is a licensed professional counselor at Sheboygan County Health and Human Services