It might not be time for “winter is coming” memes just yet, but it’s never too early to think about nurturing your emotional health. And as the colder months approach, it’s important to be aware of how they can physically and mentally affect you.
If you’re unsure how to best look after your emotional health during the colder months, try a few of these tips on for size.
Get Some Light in Your Life
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is most strongly brought on by the changes in daylight that come with the winter months. As the days get shorter, we see less light and SAD becomes more common. Fortunately, we have the opportunity to enjoy the sunlight while it lasts! Making an effort to let the sun in or even going outside during the day can be a big emotional health booster. If you, like almost 11.6 million others, enjoy fishing, there’s nothing stopping you from grabbing a pole and heading out for a short day trip to your favorite fishing spot. Even taking a ride in your car — provided you have the right tires for winter driving — can be a great way to soak up a little sun. And if you’re having trouble getting light exposure in during the day, it’s worth considering light therapy.
It might seem more difficult to exercise in the winter, but doing so can be a boon for your emotional health. People already spend an average of four hours a day on their sofas. Don’t let the sofa lure you in! Not only is moving good for your body, but it can also release endorphins and boost your mood for a significant period of time. And you don’t need to be outside to exercise, either. Joining a gym or even continuing your softball or baseball hobby at an indoor batting center can be just as cathartic as playing a real game in the spring. Even if you’re just doing 30 minutes of Pilates every day, making the effort to get yourself moving can help you out.
Remember to Take a Break
Nobody is perfect, and nobody expects you to to it all, all the time. It’s important to allow yourself time to rest and reset. These rest days can help you recenter, refocus, and get your energy back up so you’re prepared to be your best self. If you’re unsure what to do on your break, consider taking a weekend trip with your significant other, treating yourself to a day at the spa, or even just cozying up at home with a good book you’ve been meaning to finish. And if you’re one of the 42% of people with a dedicated vacation home, take the time to spend a few days there and unwind.
Manage Your Finances Wisely
With winter comes the holidays, which can be stressful for a number of reasons. But if money is what you’re worried about, it helps to have a firm grasp on your financial situation. Taking the time to plan your budget wisely can be a huge help to your peace of mind. Don’t fall for the siren song of roadside advertisements, either! Impulse purchases can be a budget disaster. If you’re especially worried about your spending, consider speaking with a financial advisor or working with your bank to set up a savings strategy.
Nurture Your Relationship
SAD can affect more than just your mood. When you’re feeling stressed or depressed, it can put a strain on your relationship with your partner. With almost one divorce happening every 36 seconds, it’s important to nurture your relationship so it stays a source of happiness and support in your life. Take one night a week to simply spend quality time together. Show your partner you care with a small, symbolic, “just because” gift. The little things you both do can really add up. If you are experiencing relationship issues, consider going to couples counseling or starting on a path that prioritizes your needs and emotional health.
Make an Effort to Be Social
Winter can make it hard to get out of the house and be social, but humans are social creatures by nature. If you’re feeling particularly low and can’t muster up the energy to go out of the house, that’s okay. Consider inviting a few friends over to bring some love to you! This is a surefire way to boost your emotional health and get some socialization in.
Get Creative with Indoor Activities
Netflix might be an excellent way to waste an entire afternoon, but it’s not really the most stimulating activity out there. So instead of binging your favorite show once more, consider getting crafty or picking up one of your favorite hobbies that you haven’t had time for in a while. Organize your jewelry, make a new piece of art, or just do something that brings you joy.
See a Therapist
It can be difficult to share how you’re feeling with honesty and vulnerability. But silver and gold are formed in supernovae. If it takes a star exploding to make a piece of gold, think about what kind of amazing discoveries you could make by sharing your struggles with someone. Therapy is an excellent way to take care of your emotional health, especially at a time of year when you could be feeling especially under pressure. Don’t hesitate to speak to a therapist if you feel like it could help you along your journey to emotional wellness.
Winter might be a little ways off, but it’s important to keep up with your emotional health year-round. And with the weather cooling down, these tips could help carry you through the colder months with a more stress-free mindset. Stay cozy and take care of yourself this winter!