With winter officially starting soon and the holidays in full swing, we know that this time of year isn’t the most wonderful time for everyone. Seasonal depression is real. Holidays can be hard for numerous reasons. We want to help! That’s why over the next two weeks, we’ll be sharing some tips to help you beat the Winter Blues.
#1. Winter Maintenance
Temperatures have dropped. The heaters are on. Cozy blankets have come out for the season. We get it! When you get home out of the cold, you find yourself buried under the warm, comfy blankets and before you know it, it’s time to get up and go back to work. Now the dishes have piled up, your ‘catch all’ chair in the bedroom is spilling over, and the Amazon boxes are splayed everywhere. Does any of this sound familiar?
Seasonal depression (or the winter blues) not only shows in our behavior, but it also shows in how we keep our surroundings. Here are a couple of suggestions:
– Tidy Up: Hang up your clothes. Clean off/organize the coffee table. Swiffer dust those cobwebs you’ve been ignoring. Vacuum.
– Safety Checks: Check the batteries in your smoke detectors, flashlights, etc. Clear your outside walkway of those leaves you keep tripping over. Take all precautions related to preventing accidental fires or gas leaks.
– Decorate: Whether you’re decorating for the holidays or not, change up your space. Put up some lights. Hang a painting that makes you smile. Rearrange the furniture.
We often think about what we put into our bodies by what we eat. However, we should be mindful of what we intake via all of our senses. What our eyes take in – whether it’s clutter/disorganization or tidiness/order. What we smell – smells of uncleanliness or smells of calmness. And so on.
So let’s start with winter maintenance in our personal space to beat the Winter Blues!
#2. Consumption Control
With the holidays in full spin, you may find yourself spending more time with friends and loved ones. The holiday parties. The Christmas karaoke. Someone in a poorly fitted Santa outfit. Music. Dancing. Secret Santa gift exchange. All of the things!
Be mindful of how much alcohol you are consuming. Know and respect your limits. You should be able to enjoy your time with friends and family. If socializing with family and friends this time of year (or any time) is not enjoyable for you, let’s remember our conversation about BOUNDARIES.
Boundaries keep us safe! Maintain your boundaries. Re-evaluate your boundaries and adjust as needed. The boundaries you needed earlier this year may be different than the boundaries you need today. And that’s okay. Let’s be very clear: you do NOT have to accept every party invitation. You do NOT have to attend that family gathering if it’s damaging to your mental health. Period.
Safely manage your consumption, friends. The goal is to not just make it to the end of the year but also to be able to enjoy the new year. The Emergency Room and medical-grade charcoal are not the way.
Special Note: Please be extra mindful if you struggle with substance abuse of ANY kind. Make a plan. Get to that meeting. Talk to your accountability partner.
If you need help putting a plan together, schedule an appointment with us today. Leyana Stevenson, LCSW is a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor and a National Master Addiction Counselor. She has virtual appointments available now.
Although we are firm believers in maintaining healthy boundaries … we DO NOT believe in isolation. Setting healthy boundaries should actually FREE you to be able to make healthy connections with the right people.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of superficial interactions ESPECIALLY during this time of year. You go to the usual holiday parties, give the highlights of your life, have a laugh and a few drinks, and then you’re on to the next event … or back to the comfort of your home. Let’s be clear: there’s nothing wrong with this type of interaction … This shouldn’t be your ONLY interaction.
Take some time to think of a friend or a family member who you can sit down and really connect with. Someone you can open up to a little bit. If group interactions are intimidating, schedule some one-on-one time to do a fun activity. Help a friend bake Christmas cookies. Or go for a drive with your favorite cousin to look at Christmas lights. And while you’re enjoying the fun, create a safe space where each of you can truly share.
Maybe take some time to sit down with a grandparent who can share what the holidays were like when they were younger. Or you can share similar stories with a younger person in your life.
#4. Intentional Financial Goals
Are you getting every sale email from every store you’ve ever shopped at in your whole life 🤦🏾♀️🤦🏾♀️🤦🏾♀️
We’re not even gonna ask how much money you spent to put all those gifts under the Christmas tree 👀👀👀 … We WILL ask what you’re doing NOW to make sure you are staying intentional with your financial goals.
Be mindful of your spending, friends. Please avoid “retail therapy”. It’s a phrase that was coined to make purchases when feeling down. This can lead to overspending. Overspending can then lead to guilt. And then we’re back where we started.
Let’s end the cycle today by being more intentional with our finances.
Here are a couple of steps to take:
- Write down your financial goals and put them somewhere you can see them every day.
- Get you (and your family) on a budget.
- Learn how to make your money work FOR you, not against you (Invest)
- Follow smart folks who can help you stay on track like The Budgetnista & His And Her Money.
Comment with your favorite financial influencers. Let’s help each other beat the Winter Blues by staying on track with our financial goals!
#5. Each One Reach One
It’s easy to isolate and get caught up in our own situation. That’s why this one is so important. It’s important for you and for others around you who may also need help. Try to make an effort to look outward and acknowledge those around you who may also be needing an ear or a hug. Always refer back to your boundaries. Reaching someone else doesn’t mean taking on all of their issues and playing hero. Reaching someone else may be as simple as offering a hug, passing along the phone number for a service they may be in need of, or sending a simple text so that they know you’re thinking of them.
Life is better done together.
#6. Use the Resources Available
Once you’ve tried tips 1-5 and still find yourself overwhelmed with the winter blues, it’s time to ask for more help! There are so many resources available from online therapy sessions to hotlines to local services. You CAN beat the Winter Blues. Here are a couple of resources that may help:
- National Foundation for Credit Counseling – www.nfcc.org
- Alcoholics Anonymous – www.aa.org
- Narcotics Anonymous – www.na.org
- SMART Recovery – www.smartrecovery.org
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline- 800-273–8255
We’d love to hear from you! What are you doing to help keep the winter blues away? Which of the tips above have helped you most? Comment below!