Happy New Year, it’s January! April is 90 or so days away. Ninety looooong days away. You’re sad, nervous, and you’re panicking. How are you ever going to get through the next few months, you’re lamenting. Many people like you feel the same way, and it can be a real issue for some. To make matters worse, the cold, the snow, the storms, the shovelling…you’ve had it.
I’m not a winter person, although when it snows those big, fluffy snowflakes, I do think it’s beautiful. What many others don’t think is so great and wonderful, is having to endure a few more months of it. If you’re not a snow or winter person, this beautiful winter wonderland may not be so beautiful to you, and you’re not looking forward to any more of it. You may be thinking, how am I going to do it?
Many people suffer from winter-phobia. Funny, right? There’s actually a medical term for it, and I see many clients in my practice during this time of year who find getting through the cold, dreary winter months, really tough. SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder, affects millions. A lack of Vitamin D, exercise, and daylight can contribute towards having negative feelings towards winter (and each other), the cold, and cause you to end up literally suffering from the winter season, emotionally and mentally.
Fret no more, help is here. There are a few things I suggest to my clients to help them get through the winter months, and when I see them the following week, I always get the same response…‘Lauren, I can’t believe how easy it was for me to do what you suggested, and it really worked!’ I’m going to share those suggestions with you here, so that you too, can benefit from a happier, more tolerable winter season.
Live In Increments
You’re probably wondering what the heck this means. It’s quite sensible actually, and, it’s client-proven to work. When you mentally compartmentalize or ‘box’ the months until Spring by grouping them together by a small number of weeks or ‘events’, like birthdays, Valentines’ Day, March Break, Groundhog Day, and April Fools’ Day, it makes the days, weeks, and months go by faster. Then, before you know it, you’ve reached April. You made it.
Sunny Side Up
Mindset is going to be your second best friend to getting through the winter months. By re-framing and re-packaging language, meaning or words and the meanings we attribute to them, you can quickly and successfully change your perspective, and your moods follow that. Language is important, as it helps to frame your meanings and references, thus creating your beliefs. Keep hydrated too!
On those really grey and cold days, sunny-it-up! Wearing bright colours, having clear-defined, action-oriented goals for the day, ensuring your living environment is happy and positive, and listening to music that revs you up and turns on your happy hormones will help ensure you’ve set your environment up for success, and will help you get through the day. On sunny days, make sure you get outside, not just for some sun, but for fresh air and exercise too. All these combined will increase your seretonin levels and get those happy hormones actives and operating at maximum.
Make It A Personal Day
Scheduling me-time, couple-time, and Mommy-son/daughter time always helps to reset things, improve mood, and gives you an extra-added special little something to look forward to. I suggest to all my clients to schedule these ‘mini-events’ every 2-3 weeks. It’s not only great for self-care and bonding, but because you;re creating something you can look forward to, it tricks the brain into thinking you’ve got a shorter way to go until you get to the end.
Of course, you could also just accept what is, and try and make the best of it, and find and create a little winter enjoyment where, and when, you can. You live here, where winter is par for the course. Nothing to do about it except accept it for what it is, embrace it as best you can, and make some great memories and activities to look forward to along the way.
My Special Message To you….
Every year around this time, the number of clients in my practice increases due to the winter blues. While I support them through CBT, Psychotherapy, and talk-therapy, the winter blues, or SAD, can cause extra and undue stress, anxiety, and depression, and generally interfere with how you’re able to function during your day. Other factors too, may also be contributing to your mental health and emotional wellness. If this is you, or anyone you know, share this article with them. I urge anyone who is having emotional or cognitive difficulties that interfere with your day-to-day overall functioning, well-being, happiness, to seek Professional help.
My Practice supports Mental Health and Emotional Wellness. If you need a bit of extra help or support, you’e not alone, you’re not ‘sick’, and please, don’t hesitate to ask, whether you ask me or another Professional. If you’re going through it and experiencing it, chances are, many others are too. We’ve become a society of judgement and stigma. I’m changing that. My practice is changing that, one client at a time. We need to tolerate more, give more, be more patient, and understanding, and give more of ourselves, to help others. Together, we can make a difference, and improve our collective Emotional Wellness.
Have a great winter, and keep smiling!