How can a mom fight the winter blues or seasonal depression? After the rush of the holidays are over and winter is still hanging on with its shortened daylight hours, long nights, and a lack of natural sunlight, the winter blues can set in. Our energy levels wane and many people suffer from seasonal affective disorder. Let’s face it – a mom’s mood (whether a working mom or stay-at-home mom) greatly also affects the home mood, so if you take care of yourself, your family will benefit as well. Here are few tips on how to fight those winter blues or winter depression this season.
Get outside and move to fight the winter blues
As cold as it is, getting outside is so important during the winter months. Bundle up, take a brisk walk, and breathe in the fresh air. Just 20 minutes outside is a great way to make a marked improvement in your mood. For even more of a mood boost and boost in your energy levels, ask a friend to join you.
Social interaction and physical activity is crucial during the cold days of winter. Invest in a good coat, scarf, hat and gloves and get out there. Exercise released endorphins truly make you feel better and help prevent low energy and sad symptoms. Take care of your physical health and let Mother Nature prevent cabin fever.
Turn off the news
I am a certifiable news and politics lover, but even I can consume only so much news right now. One of the best things you can do is turn off the news. In today’s world, we are receiving the whole world’s most difficult headlines and many times we feel powerless to respond. We are also consuming that information 24/7. That can make us feel paralyzed and hopeless.
The truth is that we can only control what we can and the rest we have to give to God. Limit social media and focus on what you can control around you. Let go of the rest. Fear, worry and anger will only lead to more of the same. Let it go in this new year.
Take a minute to pray and breathe
Taking time to breathe slowly in the dark days of winter is one of my favorite great self-care tips. Breathing exercises, prayer and meditation can make a world of difference in your day. There are so many apps on meditation and prayer, and my current favorite is Max Lucado’s Daily Devotional. They are only 1 minute long each day, and then I just take 5 deep breaths (breathe in, hold for 5 seconds, and breathe out for 7 seconds.) After you make it a habit of regular exercise, you will look forward to that silence every day.
Eat good and nourishing food to fight the winter blues
As winter approaches, it can be difficult to remember to feed yourself well but it is so important. Remember simple healthy foods nourish your body and give you energy when you are feeling sluggish and prevent weight gain. Stick to the “superfoods” like dark greens, berries, eggs, beans, nuts, yogurt, whole grains and olive oil as key ingredients to give you fuel for the day. For more info on “superfoods”, this is a great article for further reading. Hop here for more reading and tips on meal planning.
Also, if you would like a simple meal plan for the month, along with recipes, feel free to sign up for my email newsletter. This resource will give you some ideas for each day of the week, along with simple recipes for the rest of the winter months.
Get up and get dressed every day to fight the winter blues
Though it may be tempting to stay in your pajamas all day, getting up and getting dressed every day can make a world of difference. Put on your make up, brush your hair and teeth, and make your bed. Preparing yourself for the day is a simple thing you can do to boost your mood as winter approaches. The whole family will benefit when you feel better and put together. Consider it one of your New Year’s Resolutions!
Fight the winter blues in your home environment
After taking down holiday lights and decorations, our homes can seem plain and uninspired. Take a look around and see how you can make some simple tweaks to lift your spirits. Light a vanilla candle, put up some twinkle lights, play your favorite music, have a dance party…think about all of your senses and how your home can continue to inspire you through the winter months. Consider decorating with bright colors, textured winter blankets, evergreens, candles, and lighting to create cozy spaces for you and your family. Just replacing light bulbs with higher wattage options can work wonders on the winter doldrums!
Plan a trip to fight the winter blues
Planning a trip for the weeks or months ahead is a great way to fight a case of the winter blues. Even if you are just dreaming, it is worth it. Do some research, do some dreaming and make a list of places you want to explore in the months ahead.
Complete a task
When it’s dreary outside, it is easy to lay around, but completing a task and getting some work done gives you the feeling of success and accomplishment. During your down time, make a quick list on your phone of projects you want to accomplish around your home. Taking the time to just accomplish one or two things a day when the temperatures drop can make a huge overall difference and boost your mood.
Get Away to a Sunnier Climate
If it is possible to travel to a sunnier and warmer climate, do it. The lack of sunshine and warmer weather can be tough during the winter. Take advantage of the Vitamin D from the sun, even if it is just for the weekend. The combination of being in a sunnier environment and being away from your normal routine, even if it is just for a few days, can work wonders.
Call a friend to fight the winter blues
How can a mom fight the winter blues? Pick up the phone and call a friend. I know the temptation is to text instead, but calling a friend and just chatting for a bit can make all the difference in your mood. I talk to my best friend at least once a day (my one year old already says her name when she hears any phone ring) and that call is guaranteed to be good for my soul every single time. Engage in social activities to fight the effect of seasonal changes.
Read a great book
If your new year’s goals include reading some great classic books, I love this list of options from Penguin. My favorites include To Kill a Mockingbird, Jane Eyre, and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. My other favorites from my 2020 book club included Where the Crawdads Sing, As Bright As Heaven, and The Heretic’s Daughter. Reading can really help a mom fight the winter blues!
Find a good podcast
Even the most boring tasks can pass more quickly with a great podcast or an audio book. My favorite podcasts include Travel with Rick Steves, NPR Politics, Max Lucado Daily Devotional, Happier in Hollywood, Happier with Gretchen Rubin, For the Love with Jen Hatmaker, Homemaker Chic, Simple Farmhouse Life, Satellite Sisters, and Everything Happens with Kate Bowler. I put in my Air Pods in and get to putting away laundry, making dinner, or cleaning a bathroom while I learn something new! I love podcasts!
No More Winter Blues Checklist
If you are like me and love a visual checklist, I have compiled a simple list for you to print and place where you can see it every day. Hope it helps keep you motivated!
More than the blues
If you are feeling more than the “blues” and experiencing symptoms of depression, please reach out to your doctor and talk about options. There are so many options for therapy to talk about what’s going on or effective treatment like medications that can help regulate your mood…take advantage of those options and take care of yourself! Especially consider if you have a family history of depressive symptoms in your family reaching out to mental health professionals if you are finding it too difficult to move past feelings of sadness.
I hope this list of self-care tips on how a mom can fight the winter blues has been helpful to you! Here is to a better year ahead. Happy New Year!