As the colder weather sets in and the sun begins to set late afternoon, some people may have a tougher time managing their mental health. The winter season brings unique challenges, from the impact of reduced sunlight to the stress that comes with holiday preparations.
Here are some tips on how to navigate stress and anxiety during this time:
1) Prioritize Self-Care
Amidst the holiday rush and cold weather, it's crucial to set aside time for self-care. Make time for activities that you enjoy and also to relieve stress. Journaling is a great and healthy way to clarify your thoughts and emotions. Relax and wind down at night with a warm bath. Small, intentional breaks during work can also make a significant difference in your mood. Self-care comes in different forms for everyone – do what helps you unwind and fuel your mental health!
2) Maximize Your Exposure to Sunlight
Did you know our serotonin levels benefit with vitamin D produced from sunlight? With winter’s shorter days and longer nights, the lack of sunlight can affect mood and energy levels.
To counteract this, step outside while the sun is still shining! For those who work from home, try to position your work space near windows. For those who have a dog, make sure to keep going on your daily walks. And for those who want something new, visit a new cafe every week on your lunch break!
3) Move Your Body
Exercise isn’t just good for your physical health, but your mental health as well. Staying active is a proven stress-reliever as it releases endorphins in your brain, which are hormones that boost your mood.
Freezing temperatures can impact outdoor exercise, so it’s time to explore indoor workouts like at-home yoga, HIIT training, or dance. There are many fitness websites and apps that allow you to personalize your workout routine, indoor or outdoor! A gym membership is also a great way to keep up with indoor exercise and getting out of the house.
4) Manage Holiday Stress
The holiday season can bring joy, but it also often comes with added stress. Here are some suggestions to manage holiday-related stress:
Plan Ahead: Create a plan ahead of time for festivities, such as gift shopping, meal preparation, and social engagements.
Set Boundaries: You can say no! Prioritize events and activities that you want to attend and bring you joy.
Delegate Tasks: Share responsibilities with others to lighten the load. Whether it’s a small task like grocery shopping or a big task like planning a holiday trip, that is one less worry for you.
5) Create a Comfortable Environment
Your living space affects your mood much more than you think! Living in a cluttered home can bring extra stress and anxiety, sometimes subconsciously.
Set aside time to clean. Some people like to clean the entire home in a day, and others like to organize one room at a time; it’s your choice! You can also add warm blankets, soft lighting, and candles to make it more cozy. A comfortable and clean environment can significantly impact your mood and help alleviate unnecessary stress.
6) Stay Connected with Loved Ones
The colder months can sometimes lead to feelings of isolation. Having something to look forward to can make it easier to get through tough times (winter or not)! Stay connected by hosting a festive potluck with friends or enjoying a movie marathon with family. If roads are closed because of weather, FaceTime and multiplayer online games are great ways to keep in touch with people you love!
7) Maintain a Healthy Diet and Hydrate
Holiday seasons often come with indulgent treats, and while it's okay to enjoy them, a balanced diet can positively impact your mood. Load up on fruits, leafy greens, eggs and dairy products for vitamin D. Here’s a fun fact: studies have shown an antioxidant in chocolate can help with anxiety, when consumed in moderation!
Hydration is equally important in cold weather as it is in hot weather. You might experience anxiety from being dehydrated! Dehydration often sneaks up in cold weather due to various reasons, such as: reduced thirst cues, drier air, and unnoticed sweating from bundling up. If you’re not the best water drinker, stay hydrated with Vitalyte electrolyte drink mixes! Our mixes contain zero artificial coloring, flavors, sweeteners, or high fructose corn syrup (learn more about us here).
Take care of your mental health this winter season and we wish you a festive, fun, and cozy holiday!