If you’re struggling with the winter blues, or you have in the past, there are a few things you can do to stay ahead of them before they drag you down so far, you feel there’s not much hope.
I know all too well about the winter blues and what they can do to one’s emotional well-being. Back when my husband was in the Air Force and I only had two kids, both very little at the time, we were stationed in Alaska. We moved there in the dead of winter when there were only about 5 hours of daylight, but it was all still so exciting that it didn’t really bother me. Plus, I was focused on getting two little ones settled, meeting new friends and setting up our home.
The summer came and it was almost constant daylight, which was quite something when you’re trying to tell your 2-year-old at two in the morning to please go to sleep, but she’s more interested in building towers of stuffed animals. I mean it is light outside after all.
The next winter is when things got hard. Really hard. Getting out of bed was brutal. Focusing was brutal. I would nap when the kids would nap and then when they would wake up, you guessed it, it was brutal for me to try wake myself up.
I felt awful, depressed, sad, and just an emotional wreck. That was the first time I heard about the winter blues or the more technical term for it, seasonal affective disorder. I felt such a wave of relief wash over me knowing I wasn’t losing my mind, but that the weather was affecting me and there were things I could do to help make it better.
Learning how to handle the winter blues allowed me to enjoy our time there and although the winters were still hard, I had some resources in my back pocket to make sure they didn’t overtake me.
5 Ways to Stay Ahead of the Winter Blues
Add more light into your environment
Our bodies crave and need daylight all year round. Winters tend to be darker, we stay inside more and we don’t get the amount of light we need. A few ways to add more light into your environment include purchasing a light box and sitting by it for 30 minutes a day, opening the blinds and curtains in your home and letting more sunlight in or sitting closer to a window while you work.
It doesn’t matter if you want to run hard for 15 minutes, walk around the block for 35 minutes or skip around your neighborhood and embarrass the heck out of your kids, getting exercise is proven to help with the winter blues.
If you can’t get outside to exercise, do something inside. The point is to get up and get your body moving and your blood pumping. Do some situps and pushups, run up and down the stairs, do a workout video, dust off that fancy workout machine your purchased – just get moving.
Make smarter snacking choices
Feeling down and making bad eating choices go hand in hand, which then creates a cycle of never feeling well. We feel down, so we reach for foods that give us an instant lift, but then makes our bodies crash later. There are snacks that taste amazing and will leave you refreshed and energized at the same time. One of my mid-day snacks of choice is Del Monte Fruit Refreshers.
With flavors like Grapefruit & Oranges in Pomegranate Water and Red Grapefruit in Guava Water, what’s not to love? Del Monte has created the perfect adult fruit cup as a mid-day pick me up. It’s one serving of fruit, has no high fructose corn syrup and is 100 calories or less per serving. I’s the kind of fruit cup you’ll want to tell your kids to kindly back away from. Yep, no touchy.
I notice a huge difference in how I feel after I make smart eating choices and not so smart eating choices. If I give my body what it needs, it will reward me in return. If you’re interested in trying these for yourself, you can find them in your local grocery retail stores, Target and Walmart.
Plan your day
There’s something about knowing what my day holds that helps me pop out of bed in the morning, as opposed to laying there trying to remember what all I have waiting for me. The simple task of planning my day the night before, as well as setting some goals, is energizing.
Even when my kids were little and I stayed home with them, I remember planning our weeks out in the winter and how much that helped my mood. Putting a few play dates on the calendar and trips to indoor play places to get us out of the house, helped all of us with the winter blues.
One of the best things you can do for your mental health is to give back to others and your community. It’s an instant mood lifter that has an endless amount of rewards for both you and those you are giving back to. So many times we get wrapped up in our own day to day problems, we forget to look up. And if we look up even just a little, we see how blessed we are and how much we have to give.
Volunteer at a soup kitchen, Habitat for Humanity, a religious organization or the Boys & Girls Club of America. The opportunities are endless and you are needed to make a difference.
Do you struggle with the winter blues? If you have any tips on how to get ahead of them, please share them with the Mom Fabulous community!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Del Monte . The opinions and text are all mine.