There are lots of things you can try to lift winter doldrums, so never accept feeling down as a foregone conclusion. Improving your mood is possible and you and your family deserve to thrive no matter what the season of the year. Of course, you cannot control how you feel, but you can control what you do about how you feel. So get ready to experiment until you find some strategies that work for you.
Be honest with yourself. If you are feeling down, it’s okay. You’ll bounce back from the blues sooner if you can admit, at least to yourself, that something or some things are bothering you. You don’t have to do anything yet, simply try to identify any sources of disappointment or discouragement.
Tell someone you can trust. Never keep the blues to yourself no matter what the severity. Usually the sooner you share your feelings with someone you trust, the sooner you experience relief. If no one is available right this minute, write imaginary letters to someone safe in the interim.
Practice acceptance. There is no point getting angry at yourself. This will only make you feel worse. Instead, admit your powerlessness over whatever feelings are coming up. Everyone has feelings and accepting them no matter what is part of being human.
Get plenty of rest. When you feel down, getting enough sleep is crucial although getting too much sleep can work against improving your mood. Determine what amount of sleep helps you feel energized and set the alarm for this amount each night.
Let the sky hold itself up for a while. Sometimes blues are brought on by stress. The first thing a parent can do to create some relief is let go of every responsibility that is not yours. Make a to-do list and then cross off everything you don’t have to do right now. Narrowing your responsibilities to just the must-dos can create some immediate relief.
Ask for help. Don’t be a martyr. People who feel comfortable asking for and receiving help are usually not sufferers. If you can’t speak up, it’s time to shake off any victim tendencies you may have and start standing up for yourself.
Move some energy. Energy needs to move. If you are feeling down and not exercising, then this is an easy fix. Don’t think about it too much, just move. You can think later, when you are assessing how much better you feel.
Avoid alcohol and other depressants. Depressants are only going to make you feel worse. This may be hard to recognize if you are in the habit of self-medicating. You may think your “medicine” makes you feel better, not worse. But if you felt better, you would not need to self-medicate in the first place.
Eat smaller, healthier meals. If feeling down affects your appetite in either direction, see if you can reset your metabolism and blood sugar by having smaller, healthier meals throughout the day rather than just a few large meals.
Create a prayer practice. Try getting down on your knees and simply asking for whatever is troubling you to be removed. Turn over everything stressing you and ask for help to make room for good to flow in.
Build inspiration into your daily life. You can overwrite negative voices with positive messages. Opportunities for daily inspiration abound in the Internet age. Set up daily uplifting messages to your inbox, listen to radio shows or stream videos that make you feel good.
Focus on appreciation. No matter how badly you feel, surely there is something that makes you feel good. There is nothing wrong with feeling grateful for a cup of coffee, as long as you really mean it. Notice your appreciation, feel it, share it, write it down. Do whatever you can to make feelings of gratitude bigger and longer lasting.
Make a list of the happiest moments from your life. Own what made each moment powerful to you. Forget what others felt about those moments. Let the rest of the past go. No need to hang onto any unhappy memories.
Switch to glass half full. When you notice yourself focusing on or expressing the negative, pause. It’s just a habit and habits can be changed. Find something-anything-positive to focus on in the moment. If nothing strikes you, engage in one of your new constructive habits, which will create a positive shift you can then appreciate.
Do something joyous every day. Everyone has activities they do that cause them to forget time and get into a flow state. What are yours? Try to work in at least a half hour a day of flow time, no matter what else is going on.
Author, journalist, and writing coach, Christina Katz has known many who have suffered from the winter blues. She hopes this article will encourage them to reach out for help sooner rather than later, so they can experience relief and rediscover the joys of winter.