So here we are in a New Year. The hustle and bustle of the holidays are behind us – the decorating, shopping, gift-giving and entertaining are all done. We hear all around us that it is time for new beginnings. Gym memberships beckon and headlines encourage us to eat well and spend less. I should feel energized, optimistic, and excited, right? So why do I feel, well, flat?
I may have the post-holiday or winter blues , that period of feeling underwhelmed once the celebrations stop and the bills come due. I can feel sad, hopeless, and stuck at home during the short days of January and February.
It’s hard to resist the urge to turn off the alarm, snuggle back under the covers, and ignore the long to-do list, the work emails, the crying baby and that growing pile of laundry. Whatever challenges you face, here are 5 tips to get you through winter:
- Choose fun and simple ways to fit activity into your day. Walking is easy, doesn’t cost much, and you can wear your baby or take your kids with you. It’s a fact: exercise can boost your mental health.
- Don’t be in too big a hurry to take down all the decorative lights and put away the candles. There’s a reason many cultures celebrate with lights during the shorter winter days. Diwali, Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa all encourage us to celebrate by brightening up our environments. Keep some lights up until Valentine’s Day!
- Save time, money, and energy by planning ahead for healthy meals. Don’t beat yourself up about what you ate over the holidays, but start stocking some healthy snacks like hummus and fresh cut vegetables. Experiment with seasonal produce.
- Continue some of the activities that you enjoyed over the holidays. Have neighbours and their kids over for a games night. Decorate your windows with paper snowflakes. Treat yourself to healthy pancakes on a snowy weekend.
- Seek support. Connect with friends for coffee. Visit your local EarlyOn Child & Family Centre. If you are a new parent or have a child under the age of two years old, check out an Adjusting to Parenthood (A2P) group. There is a difference between the winter blues and SAD (seasonal affective disorder). See your doctor if you suspect that you or your child may be suffering from SAD.
And remind yourself: the days are already getting longer. Spring is coming. The holidays may be over, but you can do this!
How do you boost your mood in the winter months? Share your tips with us:
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For parenting information or to speak with a Public Health Nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000
About this guest blogger:
I have worked as a Public Health Nurse with Halton Region for many years. On any given week you will find me at one of our Prenatal Nutrition (HPNP) or Adjusting to Parenthood (A2P) groups. I enjoy having supportive conversations about mental health. As a survivor of perinatal mood disorders (PMD), I have a passion for helping new parents navigate the sometimes challenging transition to parenthood. When not at work, I enjoy the company of my grandchildren and going for walks with my goldendoodle Finnegan.