Having depression makes day-to-day life challenging sometimes. Add in the cold, gloomy weather that winter brings, and it’s easy to feel especially down these few months of the year. I’ve found that being more proactive with my mental health in the winter helps with my depression and winter blues.
My main coping skill is spending time outside, which looks different this time of year. Just because it isn’t as sunny and warm as the other months, it’s still important to get fresh air. Even putting on your coat and standing outside for 10 minutes can help your mental health. Sometimes the cold fresh air can help clear your head. If you can’t get yourself to go outside, try opening your window and standing by it for a few minutes.
Add soft lighting to your home. Sunshine helps lift my mood, and I don’t get as much during the winter. Since winter consists of more gloomy days, the type of lighting inside your home is important. I am not a fan of overhead lighting. I think adding string lights or lamps to your home makes it feel cozier. I have a sunset lamp that I love because it gives me a hint of the sunset without having to go outside. I have Christmas lights hanging in my room year-round to make it feel more welcoming.
Say “yes” to more activities. This is something I’m actually working on myself. With depression, it is easy to say “no” to social activities and stay home. Staying at home every day only feeds my depression though. I find myself saying “no” to more things in the winter than the summer. Challenge yourself to say even “yes” when you have the urge to stay home. If you know you’ll enjoy yourself if you go, then try to push yourself.
Start a new hobby. Winter is a great time to start a new hobby, especially if it’s inside. Is there a home project you’ve been putting off? Now is the time to start it! Decluttering your space can improve your mental health and give you a sense of accomplishment. Reading books is a great pastime, and it helps you stay away from electronics. Starting a new hobby that doubles as a positive coping skill is even better. Art is an effective coping skill because it encourages creativity and self-expression.
Find winter activities you enjoy that still get you outside. Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean you have to stay inside the entire winter. Depending on where you live, there are probably fun activities to help get you out of the house. Look up local winter activities in your area to see what is offered. Ice skating, playing in the snow, sledding, and skiing are enjoyable things to do in the colder months. Try something new, you might like it.
If your depression has worsened because it’s winter, hang in there. Spring and the sun will be here soon!
To connect with other people living with depression join our Depression Facebook Support Group.
Photo Credit: Dougal Waters / Stone via Getty Images
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