Just saying … Winter brings cold and wet weather. You, your friends and families will huddle inside to get away from the weather. Oftentimes some of us suffer from episodes of depression, “the Winter blues”, during this season.
“Depression drains your energy, hope, and drive, making it difficult to take the steps that will help you to feel better … For some people, the reduced daylight hours of winter lead to a form of depression known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD can make you feel like a completely different person to who you are in the summer: hopeless, sad, tense or stressed, with no interest in friends or activities you normally love. No matter how hopeless you feel, though, there are plenty of things you can do to keep your mood stable throughout the year”. (Smith, 2017)
Preemptively, because Winter is not here yet, and proactively because you can use these tips throughout the year, I want to offer 10 ways to “overcome the blues” that I gained from lived experiences with depression. Enjoy these on your own, with your family, spouses, partners or friends, or as activities for your wellness or social centers.
I have found ten activities that help me deal with depression:
Social Media – I like perusing my Facebook friends’ posts to see what they are doing. If you cannot drive through the weather, connect with friends, spouses, partners, and family using social media. In addition to Instagram, texting each other is all the rage, NOW! This type of fun is a healthy medicine that can help reduce depression.
Reaching into your creative mind – I will draw or paint, write in a journal or engage in photography. Today, my drawings involve digital sketching using the iPad. There are a few apps that I use for this activity: Procreate, Sketches, Zen Brush 2, Adobe Creative Suite apps, and Concepts. Create holiday cards with the Touch Note app or use photo apps to create gifts of photos or photobooks – Shutterfly, Photobooks or Freeprints.
Creating with others – Wellness and social centers often have classes for those who want to create together. Spend time and socialize with others in creative activities, which will lift your mood and guard against isolation which can heighten depression.
Exercising – As I have stated in a previous blog, 30-minutes a day of exercise can create a happy spirit in you as your whole body receives healing energy from the movement.
Eating Healthy – Nutritious, warm meals are helpful. Learning new holiday recipes and cooking is enjoyable. If possible, plan and cook meals with others. Of course, it is not good to overeat or engage in overdrinking of alcohol as a lot of us can or want to do during the holidays!
Resting – Getting at least 8 hours of sleep rejuvenates your spirit and body.
Going to the movies or museum – Plan group outings to a local museum or go to a discount movie night. Socializing with others in a strength-based, fun and healthy manner can be an enjoyable and fun experience. These are fun distractions that can eliminate the negative thoughts and sadness you may experience with depression.
Reading a book – Join a book club, and discuss what you all are reading together. Using your mind this way can stop negative ruminating thoughts, as you remember what you read and discuss with others. You will soon feel a positive energy and have positive thoughts.
Social activities – Develop a calendar of social activities for you, your friends, family or spouse or your wellness or social center clients. Calendar holiday events that are happening in your area. These events can be free or at low costs for groups. Even more, if it is just too rainy to go out, set up gaming stations and enjoy fun competitions with the group.
Outdoor adventures – This is the time of year to travel to places or have outdoor adventures in areas where the weather is great. Remember to travel safely!
“Overcome the blues” this Winter season and make it a time that is … all about that hope!