Aaaah February! Insert sad face emoticon here. For many people, the winter blahs might have already kicked in. Or maybe you're resisting feeling down and teetering on the possibility of giving in or pushing through the next few months as you anticipate spring. Or maybe -- and I hope this is you -- the winter blues aren't even an issue and life is consistently fine and dandy no matter what comes your way. This is not me. (Yes, even life coaches get the blahs!) It is quite common to feel a little more weighed down than usual during mid-winter.
First, it is important to understand the difference between feeling down and feeling depressed. Feeling down is part of being human. Difficult situations and phases come and go but you are able to function in your day-to-day routine knowing that you will eventually bounce back. According to WebMD, signs of depression include the inability to function normally, weight changes, and feelings of hopelessness. For a complete list of depression symptoms, click here. If you are feeling depressed, it is important that you speak with your doctor.
If you are feeling down and just want to get through winter, follow these tips!
1) Eat Healthy Food!
This simply means to eat foods with nutritional value. Quality food contributes to increased productivity, happier mood, weight control, appetite control and overall health. Do your best to maintain a balanced diet. For some inspiration, check out the revamped USDA food pyramid.
Oh my, am I trying to trick you into becoming an all-around healthy individual? Eating clean, exercising, being happy? Well if better health is a side effect of getting through the rest of the winter, then okay, I'll take credit! Activity is important in combatting cabin fever because it reduces stress, promotes healthy sleeping, improves mood, and boosts energy. You can find movement indoors, outdoors, high-intensity or low-intensity. Find what works for you whether it's stretching, yoga, CrossFit, Roku workouts, skiing, ice skating or the plethora of other options. Shoveling snow and sledding also counts!
3) Do Something Nice For Yourself!
The first two tips are ways of being nice to yourself but you might not be completely aware of it as your dragging yourself to the gym in 20-degree weather. So think of other ways to treat yourself that you really look forward to. Perhaps, reading a good book, catching up with Netflix, taking a workshop, enjoying a spa day, indulging in a hobby, etc. Carve out time in your schedule and make it non-negotiable -- that is your time and no one else's.
I don't mean hide behind your computer and leave LOLs on your friends' Facebook posts. Stay connected on a personal level. Pick up the phone and call someone, email your friends and family directly, text jokes with your besties, or engage in a fun winter activity with someone. Aim for personal and enjoyable interaction daily!
5) Plan for spring!
See the light at the end of the tunnel. The seasons are like our moods and our moods are like the seasons -- both are phases, and some phases are more enjoyable than others. Think of some of the things you want to do in spring or summer that you can't quite do right now. Do any of your plans require any prep? If so, get ready now -- make a plan! Getting in shape for the beach, sprucing up your home for summer soirees, planning for weekend getaways, etc. -- now is a great time to start thinking about these things!