When the sun sets earlier every day and the weather is cold and overcast, it may make you want to spend time indoors and hide from the world. Fall and winter can be taxing for your physical and mental well-being. You might find yourself feeling irritable, having low energy, or even struggling with your daily routine. Maintaining your mental health in winter is crucial for your overall health and wellness. These tips can help you beat the winter blues and have a more positive outlook.
Exercising is one of the best things you can do for holistic health. As little as 15 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a day can make you feel more energetic and help you sleep better. Exercise will reduce stress and help you relax, and there are many types of workouts to try. If you aren’t already physically active, try free online classes until you find something you enjoy and can stick with.
2. Go Outside
Keep an eye on the forecast and take advantage of any warm, sunny days. Use that time to take a walk or meditate outdoors. Getting fresh air and vitamin D will naturally boost your mood. There is a potential connection between depression and vitamin D deficiency, and since it is difficult to get enough of this vitamin from your diet alone, sunlight exposure is the primary source for most people. Even a few minutes spent outdoors can put you in a more positive state of mind and improve your mental health in winter.
3. Stick to a Healthy Routine
It may be more challenging to do so during the holiday season, but staying on track with the healthy routine you’ve established is one of the best ways to improve your mental health in winter. Eating a diet rich in whole foods such as fresh produce, grains, and lean proteins is vital for helping you avoid conditions such as depression, obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
A consistent sleep schedule is also essential for your mental wellness. Still, you may struggle with this in the winter because the shorter days can throw off your internal body clock. If that’s the case for you, continue waking up and going to bed at the same times every day. Avoid screen time, including watching TV, before bedtime.
4. Stay Connected
Having a strong social support system can be invaluable for reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety. To improve your mental health in winter, stay in touch with friends and family members. Send quick text messages to let people know you’re thinking about them, or set up regular video chats with loved ones in other states. You might even want to make some new connections. Look for online book clubs, support groups, or other communities to join. If you’re struggling with your mood and enthusiasm, discuss your concerns with a therapist.
When to Ask for Help
Many people feel lonely, disconnected, and unmotivated in the winter. While these four tips can help improve your mental health in winter, your feelings may be warning signs of a mental health disorder. If you have trouble finding pleasure in formerly enjoyable activities, struggle with emotions like guilt and hopelessness, or are experiencing thoughts of self-harm or suicide, it’s time to ask for help.
Protecting your mental health is a year-round activity. At Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers, we have designed our outpatient mental health services to make it easier for people to seek treatment on their terms. Connect with us to learn more.