Spend time on self-care when the sunshine is scarce
Gray. Gloomy. Cozy! However you interpret it, the winter weather sometimes can be a challenge to emotional and mental (even physical) health. We at the Alliance are big proponents of self-care, especially when the sun becomes scarce, and we found some great tips for warding off the blues. If you are going to be able to be a good partner, friend or neighbor, it’s vitally important that you first focus on your own well-being.
The best way to keep your mood in check is to keep your body healthy. There are many ways to achieve that:
- Exercise: According to the Harvard Health blog, “Exercise busts stress, boosts the mood, and elevates our energy level, not to mention the heart health benefits.” So do whatever you love to get your blood pumping, because every little bit makes a difference. And if you can, spend some time outside. Sunshine might be hard to come by but fresh air is great for clearing the mind.
- Sleep: So important! Everyone needs a different amount, so listen to your body. Forbes notes, “According to a 2013 Gallup poll, 40 percent of Americans were getting less than seven hours of sleep at night. We need that downtime to allow our body and brain to recover from the rigors of the day. So, if you’re feeling run down and want to indulge in a little self-care, start turning in earlier or take that afternoon nap.” We love that idea! Not getting enough sleep can make you irritable and impair other parts of your brain, so don’t be afraid to dip out of that party early.
- Eat healthy: Focus on nutrient-dense meals and lots of hydration. The recommendation to “eat the rainbow” keeps the necessary thought to a minimum – just load up on colorful items and you’ll be getting all kinds of vitamins. To clarify, we don’t mean Skittles.
Keep your mind engaged
What better season to take a breather and focus on what’s really important?
- Focus on the spiritual side: Quiet your mind with meditation, prayer, a walk in a park, observing a sunset or sunrise, attending a religious service, reading or listening to something inspirational, suggests Psychology Today.
- Stay social: It can be easy to make fewer plans because it’s getting colder outside and darker earlier in the day, according to the Crisis Text Line’s counselors. Fight the urge to burrow into your couch; make it a priority to see those people you care about.
- Focus on gratitude: It’s more important than ever to find the silver linings when the world seems harsh. Focusing on being thankful shifts our perspective, Forbes says in “Got The Winter Blues? How Self-Care Can Help.” By giving yourself a reality check, you could go from thinking “poor me” to “lucky me!” It might sound crazy but, over time, this can work. Make gratitude your attitude!