Has Winter Sapped You?

Does it feel like winter has just settled in and sapped your energy, your joy and your comfort? Often, when the fog rolls in over the valley and the days become short and chilly, people start to worry about how they are going to feel over the next few weeks and months. Luckily, although we can’t manipulate the weather to our liking, it is possible to nip some of the winter blues in the bud, so to speak.

So what can you do keep from feeling pulled under by the grey and cold? Many people have discovered that a concept called “intensive self care” really helps to avert the down mood that this weather can bring. Here are three tips to help you out on that front:

1. Pay attention to how nature copes with the season. Animals rest more, some go into full hibernation and others minimize their daily routines. You, too, should focus on getting plenty of rest and relaxation, preferably away from electronic gadgets that bathe us in their seductive blue light but can contribute to sadness and emotional disconnect. Keep regular bed times, schedule down time and time off line. If you notice your sleep patterns lagging, please talk to your doctor and don’t wait more than a week to do so if the problem occurs daily. Lack of sleep can exacerbate so many mood problems and you deserve the best care.

2. After rest, food and nourishment are key to managing mood in this season. Make sure you eat on schedule and avoid simple carbohydrates and sugars. This includes alcohol and recreational drugs which can throw your system out of balance. Eat right and remind yourself with each right choice that you are showing yourself love by caring for yourself.

3. Focus on what is beautiful. Are you looking out and wondering what could be beautiful in this dank cold? Look again. Do you see tiny slivers of plum and silver in the tree bark? Does the elm have just one, irresistibly stunning yellow leaf left clinging to that branch up there? Perhaps the beauty isn’t outside. Is is your cat’s pink nose, the candle on your table, the softness of your comforter or the scent of one perfect cup of tea? Beautiful things surround you. Make sure you find time to focus on them every day.

winterThese are a few things that can help you through this time of winter. Know deep inside that just after the winter comes a spring of renewal. New ideas and plans can germinate but for now, you can take a well deserved rest and slow down to savor the Now.

If these ideas don’t prove helpful, please don’t hesitate to call your doctor, your clergy or your local therapist for some more ideas and strategies to help you find joy in every season, including winter!

About Nicola Simmersbach, PsyD LMFT LPCC