It’s officially winter so I wanted to take some time to talk about how we can take care of our mental health. The impact of the winter on mental health can be greater than at other times of the year. Several factors can be causing this change such as shorter days and lack of sunshine. So, if you are someone who is struggling with this time of year then here are some suggestions for you to help you through a tough period. If your mental health is not affected by the winter then still read on because there are still some great suggestions!
Finding ways to cope with an increase in mental health issues is the most important thing to do. As soon as you notice symptoms, amp up your self-care! People who face difficulties with their mental health should keep coping mechanisms recorded somewhere so that they know they have a plan to get through difficult times. Some of those coping strategies will be discussed here, and trying them is the first step. However, don’t be deterred if at first, you don’t succeed. Your health is an ongoing thing, both physical and mental so don’t expect a one size fits all fix.
It takes practice to find out what works for you!
In the winter months, we tend to find ourselves retreat inside a lot more due to the change of weather. Like most animals do. However, you should still attempt to keep up your levels of physical activity. There is research that suggests exercise such as running, cycling or other aerobic activities can be just as effective as medication when it comes to treating mental health issues.
The first hurdle is getting over that lack of energy we so often feel when we are depressed. Start out by doing whatever it is you can motivate yourself to do!
One of the reasons for the increase in depression is a lack of daylight. Beautiful sunshine! You should make the most of the hours of light you have by going outside during the day and opening blinds or curtains. In addition to these practical daytime solutions, you might want to consider investing in a SAD lamp which is a form of light therapy with ten times the intensity of household lights.
Another aspect of a lack of daylight is decreased exposure to the sun. With this lack of sunshine comes a lowering of your vitamin D intake. Doctors recommend that we should all take vitamin D supplements in the winter months to keep our levels up.
This can apply year round, but if you are someone who has trouble in the winter months then don’t suffer in silence. Finding someone to talk to about how you’re feeling such as professional or close friends and family will be beneficial to you. However, you don’t just have to discuss your problems. Humans are social beings and just having interaction can be enough to lift a lid on any mental haze you are experiencing.
Finally, if you are familiar with the pains of mental health and feel you are in a position to, then get out there and help people. You can do things like getting a masters in mental health counseling online. Big goals, but totally attainable! It’ll give you the qualification necessary to help people who are struggling and share your experience of the hard times while being a demonstration of coming through the other side.