I was inspired to go #beyondordinary in a Sahale Snacks® sponsored series for Socialstars™
Don’t let Seasonal Depression get you down during the winter months. These 6 tips will help you find your happiness and sunshine even when it’s gloomy and cold outside. There’s also a free worksheet that will get you started taking action toward happier days today!
January through March. It’s an interesting time of year. One that can be quite troublesome for a lot of people. The holidays are over. There’s no sign of any big holidays to look forward to. No days off work until possibly Memorial Day – 5 long months away!
And to top it off, depending on what part of the world you’re in, you’re probably dealing with cold weather and gloomy skies. All in all, it can be a really depressing time for a lot of people.
It took my wife a little while to realize it herself, but after years of feeling an overall cloud of unhappiness during these months, she realized she suffers from seasonal depression. And she is not alone! Thousands of people suffer during these months for the reasons I described above.
I mean, I’m sure you’ve noticed it even just a little bit in yourself too. During super sunshine-y and warm days, you just feel cheerful and on top of the world, right? You’re feeling alive, and all you want to do is get outside and play.
Winter months are quite the opposite. It’s cold and gloomy out and all you want to do is sit inside all bundled up on the couch with a good book. At least that’s what I want to do. But as cozy as those things are, getting in the routine of just staying in and bundling up to hide from the cold can really start to effect our moods. I know I start to feel unproductive and lazy. I feel like there’s a grey cloud over my head. I tend to eat comfort foods that aren’t necessarily healthy for me, just hoping they’ll make me feel happier. All in all, it can be really hard to feel happy and alive.
As someone who suffers from chronic depression all year long, I do have some fantastic tricks up my sleeve that will help you or someone you love deal with this hard time during the winter months.
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How to Deal with Depression During the Winter Months
Find Your Happy
What is it that makes you happy? What things do you love doing? What automatically brings a smile to your face?
Dancing? Playing with puppies or kittens? Window shopping? Crocheting? Girl’s Night Out?
What is it?
Sometimes we have to be very intentional about finding out happiness, especially when the winter months don’t necessarily provide natural sunshine and brightness to our days. I have made it a point in my life to create my own happiness in order to combat my depression.
First, you must start by making a list of 50-100 things that make you happy. The little things. The big things. What are they? Write them down.
The hard part is done. Seriously. Identifying your happy-triggers is where all the work is. Once you know what actions and experiences will make your life shine a little brighter, all you need to do is go down the list and pick one. Some will be easier than others.
For example, going to the pet store to look at cute animals may be pretty simple. But travelling to Europe, maybe not so much. But what you could do if you really want to dream about travelling is start planning your dream vacation by creating a Pinterest board of all the things you want to do in Europe.
Get in that happy place. Find what is it that really makes you feel alive, and then live it. Intentionally. Every day.
When my work day is over at 5 every day, I am very intentional about doing the things that make me happy. If I’m stuck, I turn to my list and just pick something.
And to get you started, how about a super cute printable you can print out and write your whole list of happy-makers on it. Then stick it on your wall so you can see it when you’re down. Hell, make a bunch of copies and post them everywhere. At work. At home. In your car. In your planner. Be reminded of all the ways to create your happiness everywhere you go.
Grab the FREE printable here, and it’s yours for keeps… sound good?!
Go on an Adventure In the months of January and February, all I tend to think about is how I want to go away to somewhere warm. And then I am reminded that there are no holidays for months. No vacations planned until summer. And then the overwhelm of long and never-ending work days and weeks starts to take over. Before I know it, I completely depressed by the idea of being stuck in one place for the next 5-6 months with no change or anything to look forward to. I suggest ending that overwhelm right away and give yourself something to break those long months up. Go on a little adventure. Take a long weekend and go somewhere nearby. A bed and breakfast in the mountains. A cabin in the middle of nowhere. A hotel right in the heart of your own city. Whatever it is, plan a weekend getaway with some friends or your significant other. Jam-pack it full of your favorite games and treats. Go on little adventures you wouldn’t normally do, like maybe try snow-shoeing for the day. Or take horseback riding lessons. Or visit touristy spots in your city or nearby. Things you must take on your adventure:
- Deck of cards for endless games
- Healthy snacks, such as Sahale Snack Bars, mixed nuts, and dried fruits.
- A game that is sure to make you and your company laugh your heads off. (my personal favorite is Cards Against Humanity)
- A positive attitude that you will leave this adventure recharged and motivated to take on the next couple months until warmer months come back.
I just have to add that I seriously take Sahale Snack bars with me everywhere I go, especially if I know I’m going to be out and about “adventuring” all day. They are packed full of all natural flavors, and I especially love that their vanilla comes straight from Madagascar Vanilla Beans. Nothing artificial about that! If you want to learn more about Sahale Snacks, you can find more info here . Let the Sunlight In One of my very very favorite things to do first thing in the morning is to whip open all those curtains and let in as much sunlight as possible. During the winter months, everything seems so gloomy and gray, so every little bit of light I can get is better. I will admit that opening all the curtains does make the house colder, but the brightness that comes spilling into my home is totally worth it. Put on a hoodie, slippers, and scarves, and enjoy as much sunlight as you can. The days are shorter, and I’m happy to take as much sun as I can possibly get in my days! Schedule a Date Once a Week With a friend. With your honey. With your mom, dad, sister, or brother. Heck, anyone will do. Schedule something every week. Go for a lunch date. Have a play date with a mom group. Have a book club date. Have a movie date. Have a coffee date. Put it on the calendar and make it happen. Having something on the calendar, no matter how small of a little date it is, will help you to look forward to something each and every week. It’ll break your week up. It’ll ensure that you’re around other people that you love. Social activity will bring joy into your life. One thing I will note. While dealing with depression, it can be very hard to not only make plans, but to follow through with them. Once you plan the date, you have got to follow through. Even if you’re feeling depressed and down on the way to the date. Go anyway. I’m pretty dang sure that once you meet up for your date, your mood will start to cheer up. Even if just for a little while. It’s totally worth it! Pamper Yourself This can mean a lot of different things for everyone. Just like finding your happiness, you have got to find the things that you enjoy being done for you. Get your nails done, or you could even do them at home if you enjoy painting your nails. Order a fancy cocktail or coffee. Hire someone to clean your house once a month. Enjoy a quality piece of dark chocolate. It is so important to pamper yourself because it will remind you how important you are and how much you deserve to be taken care of in a healthy way. It will remind you that you deserve these things. You deserve happiness. You deserve love. You deserve all the sunshine in the world! Exercise I couldn’t give you advice about beating depression and down days without talking about exercise. Exercise is truly my saving grace. If I’m having a bad day and I exercise, chances are, my mood will have changed for the better. If I’m not feeling motivated to do anything at all, often all I need to do is crank up the music and get moving. Often, by the time I’m done, I’ve already come up with a whole list of things I want to accomplish that day. Exercise releases endorphines that combat all those grey bluesy feelings during the blah winter months. Even just 20 minutes of moderate movement every day is all you need to change your mood. That’s less than the time of one Netflix episode. That’s the time it takes for one load of laundry to finish washing. You could have exercise and shower done while laundry being washed. You could do it while dinner is in the oven. Don’t forget – shoveling snow totally counts as a workout! ________________________________________________________________________________________ I really hope this post helps you to find a light at the end of the tunnel. The underlying theme to these ideas is that you are going to have to work at it and that you are going to have to take action. If you want to feel better, you will need to be intentional about finding your happiness, even if sometimes you don’t feel like finding happiness at all. Even if it only feels like you’re going through the motions. Start now and you’ll start feeling better soon! Print out this sheet and just start listing all the things you can think of that make you happy. Grab it now!
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