This time of year is tough! The weather is freezing, it gets dark so fast, you don't want to exercise in the cold, and well, our mental health seems to take a bit of a beating too.
Don't worry, spring and warm weather are right around the corner, but until then, here are a few tips to help you overcome any winter blues you may have!
10 Ways to Help with Mental Health
Limit News Intake
Love or hate politics, right now, that seems to be what a lot of networks are discussing. I have nothing against watching the news, but generally, not much positivity is out there. So, be mindful of how much time you have on TV or social media. Even if you have it on as background noise, it can still affect your mood.
During the colder months, we usually hunker down and don't see people as much. And well, with Covid, we are super hunkered down! However, don't let that stop you from visiting family and friends.
Do you ever get that feeling when you have been home so long, it's hard to want to leave the house? I think that's true for many of us, but the longer we go without seeing or visiting friends and family, the lonelier we feel.
It's good and healthy to see people. I'm lucky enough to live in Texas so that I can get out. If you do not have to quarantine, set up a coffee date with a friend, have a few people over for a game night, or meet at a restaurant to have dinner together. Being with people and visiting will do your heart good.
However, if you are required to quarantine, then make a phone call to a loved one, zoom with a friend, or even write someone a handwritten letter (remember those!). These are all great ways to stay connected and keep in touch with loved ones.
Exercise and Get Outside
Exercise increases endorphins, and we all know that endorphins make you happy. Or at least, Elle Woods, and I think so! Honestly, I have never heard one person regret that they exercised. However, do you know people (myself included) that regret when they don't work out? So if you live in warm temperatures, try to get outside and take a walk or run!
If you live up north and exercising outside is not an option, then do a workout video on Youtube. There are a million of them available, and they are all free.
I use an app called SWEAT. It's 30-minute sessions with all types of workouts such as no equipment, home activities, gym workouts, yoga, strength building, etc. You pick the right one for you.
Here is a picture of the App. It cost $20 a month. This App is an excellent option for working out at home. You can click on the picture for more information.
Even if you don't want to exercise, I suggest getting outside! Whether taking a drive or hang out by the window, a little vitamin D is always helpful.
You work hard! Whether you are working on your career, being a mom, studying as a college student, or taking care of a member of your family, we all have responsibilities and pressures. Therefore, don't forget to treat yourself now and then!
Some suggestions would be to get a massage, treat yourself to your favorite coffee, take a long hot bath (without interruptions), have a glass of wine by yourself once everyone's in bed, or order dinner out, so you don't have to cook and clean up.
Just remember you are important too, and your cup has to overflow before you can fill anyone else's cup!
Start Your Day with Quiet Time
Nothing is worse than rushing out of bed and getting the day started already feeling behind. Getting up late already begins your day with stress! Get up a few minutes early and start your day off on the right foot.
If you are a morning person, get up extra early, make a cup of coffee, relax, reflect, and give yourself time to journal, mediate, or do a bible devotional.
If you are not a morning person, then allow yourself at least 10 minutes before the kids and family rise to give yourself time to wake up and get the morning going before you begin all the morning routines, hustle, and bustle.
Most important, don't start your morning off rushed. It will ruin the rest of your day! (Speaking from experience!)
Set Realistic Goals
We often set pretty big goals for ourselves in January, and this is the time we usually realize we are nowhere close to achieving them. Don't put that pressure on yourself!
Set realistic goals that you are capable of achieving and celebrate those small victories. Remember, Rome did not get built in a day!
Do For Others
Whenever you are down, do good for someone else and see how you feel. I promise it will light you up!
It's amazing how doing helping someone else fills your heart probably even more than theirs. Isn't it crazy how that works!
Some ways you can help others:
Make a treat and leave it at their door.
Send a sweet letter thanking them for being a good friend or loved one.
Drop off a monogrammed item.
Making dinner and drop it off, so they don't have to cook that night.
Here are a few other ideas that don't take as much time:
Purchase the person's coffee behind you.
Let someone go in front of you at the grocery store.
Hold the door for someone, smile, and speak to them.
Donate food at a food pantry.
The possibilities are endless; just be creative and see what works in your everyday life and schedule.
Sleep does wonders for the soul, and we should never take it for granted. Often it seems like it's a bragging right to discuss how many hours you were up during the night working! No...don't do that! Your body and mental health need the right amount of sleep.
Here is a quick chart of how much sleep you should get per your age:
Teenagers: 8 to 10 hours
Adults (18-64): 7 to 9 hours
Older Adults (65+) 7 to 8 hours
Journaling is a fantastic way to reflect and allow your mind to find clarity. I struggled with anxiety and started journaling a few years ago. It's been beneficial and enabled me to value my life.
I created a journal process and would love for you to adopt it if you are interested in journaling. I have a free printable for you. I usually use a spiral notebook, but I use this process.
Ask for Help
You are not alone! Let me repeat; you are not alone! Many people struggle with anxiety and depression. When I was at my darkest, it felt as if I was walking around with 100-pound chains that no one could see. I didn't want to burden anyone with my problems, so my chains became heavier and heavier.
Eventually, I knew I needed help. That's when I spoke to a trusted friend who referred me to a Christian counselor. Through counseling and visiting with my health care provider, I found a plan that works for me. I now feel like I have my life back, and I would have never had the confidence to start blogging if I didn't take those steps.
We all struggle; no one is perfect or lives the ideal life. If you are anxious or feel alone, it's okay. Speak to a trusted loved one or reach out for help with your church, counseling services, or hotline.
Here are a few resources for you.
Online Counseling Services (Click on the Picture for Website)
My prayer is that these tips give you some light in these blue days of winter. Don't worry, in a few weeks, the flowers will be blooming, the sun will be shining, and we will be celebrating Easter!
If you have any questions or need more information, please DM Brooke and me @theoldrivernest on Instagram.
All Our Love,
Amber and Brooke :)
You are more than welcome to take a screenshot and use!