It’s meant to be so beautiful— idyllic even. Glistening snow, bright holiday lights, gingerbread houses, all of the sights, smells and sounds of winter abound. Even with all the stimulation to feel satisfied in the season, it’s still a time when many people feel anxious or depressed from a variety of sources—including dark, dreary weather, extra expenses and other winter-specific woes.
Before we can identify ways to get rid of the stress, it’s important to identify where it comes from. There are many different situations and symptoms that can initially seem puzzling, but as research suggests, they actually make a lot of sense when you know how a season can affect your health and mood.
Did you know that stress can actually make you sick? Here’s how we’re affected:
“When we’re under stress, our immune system is compromised,” chronic disease specialist John Young, M.D., author of Beyond Treatment, told weather.com, “an issue that’s particularly important during the winter cold and flu season. All the sugar and heavy carbs we consume this time of year depress the immune system, too.”
A few ways that you can easily lessen the strain on yourself this time of year:
Really experience your feelings; take time to recognize when you’re happy or content, sad, frustrated, or otherwise. Remember what causes each emotion and take a bit of time to examine why you feel the way you do; make adjustments accordingly and see if happiness is more prevalent.
Make Family Time
Spending quality time with the ones you love, especially children, can be a very uplifting experience in the winter. It’s the opportunity to get cozy and make memories, really taking in the moment and cherishing it. Pay attention to what’s going on, be present, and you’ll find yourself feeling better.
Get your home in order in the new year—whether it’s cleaning out clutter in the garage or finally throwing out what’s just sitting in the attic. Even a small commitment to maximizing your space will not only make your home look better, it will increase your mental clarity for the months to come. So roll up your sleeves and get going; you’ll be glad you took the time to create a clean, organized space.
There are myriad benefits to eating what’s in season. Not only is produce cheaper because it’s the right time of year, but you’re also benefiting from nutrients at peak performance. Find lists online that share what foods you should eat each cycle and incorporate something new into your dinner plans in the cold weather months and beyond.
Find a Fitness Routine
There are so many fitness programs online—from ballet to at-home bicycles to yoga and everything in between. When you find what you love, having them on the Internet, there for you all of the time, makes it easier to make the commitment instead of having to make it class. Make it a routine and you’ll immediately begin to experience how much better you look and feel.
When you’ve identified what causes winter stress and you can learn to live beyond it, you’ll find that your stress levels on average will drop dramatically. This change will do wonders for the way you feel; imagine being free from the sadness the season can bring. It’s time to let the clouds break and allow the light to shine in, finding a new way to cope with the less-than-lovely weather. This will lead you into spring a brand new as a better-balanced person.