Winter blues or winter blahs, whatever term you use, is that sinking mood and lower energy levels that many people experience when the days get shorter and weather turns cold.
Self-care practices can be an important way to combat the winter blues and prevent Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Many people feel guilty about making time for themselves, but it’s important to remember that when you care for yourself, you do a better job at caring for others.
Here are some self-care tips to ward off the winter blues:
1. Identify activities that mean the most to you: Self-care looks different for everyone; some people enjoy a hot bath alone, while others enjoy a night out with friends. Find what works best for you and schedule it in!
2. Take care of yourself physically: Exercise daily, practice healthy eating, and check your sleep hygiene. By taking care of your physical health, you reap the benefits emotionally, psychologically, and socially.
3. Know when to say no: Cut out the activities/chores/to-do lists that aren’t fulfilling. Don’t be afraid to shorten the to-do list by saying no when you don’t want to do something. Don't feel guilty! Becoming overwhelmed doesn't help you, your colleagues or your loved ones.
4. Practice mindfulness: A skill we naturally possess as human beings, mindfulness can improve with practice. There’s growing research showing that when you train your brain to be mindful, you actually start to rebuild the physical structure of your brain and make it more resilient to stress, anxiety, depression, physical pain/injury, etc. Practice on your own or follow a guided meditation (there’s apps for that) to help bring awareness to your senses, thoughts, and emotions in the present moment.
And never forget to prioritize yourself. You are worth it.
Health care practitioners practice self-care regularly in order to provide the best care possible to our patients. If you feel like you need support to help build better self-care practices, let your preferred Lifemark health professional know. We’re here to help. To find a location near you, please visit www.lifemark.ca/locations