Minnesota in the winter is a beautiful place to be—a light dusting of snow in the morning and kids building a snowman can bring a smile to your face. But Minnesota in the dark of winter can also be a tough place to live. The “winter blues,” specifically, is another term for for what psychologists diagnose as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which appears or gets worse during the cold, dark months. So what can we do if hopping on an airplane to a tropical locale isn’t an option?
1. Listen to your body and honor the season. It’s natural for us to want to hibernate more in the winter. But listen to your tendencies and discern if you are simply craving a slower pace, or if your wanting to hide from the world might be part of SAD.
2. Be kind and gentle with yourself. Incorporate some softness, quiet and self-care into your day.
3. Move your body. Exercise helps to boost our mood and combats lethargy so it’s easier to get up off of the couch. You don’t have to get to the gym—just move your body in a way that feels good and gets your blood pumping.
4. Add some light. Studies show that light therapy is one of the most effective treatments for SAD. Take a walk and soak in the vitamin D from the sun; then treat yourself to a sauna, cup of tea or soak in the tub.
5. Reach out for support. Know that you are not alone. The Minnesota Warmline provides a peer-to-peer approach to mental health recovery, support and wellness. To reach a trained peer specialist, call 877.404.3190 or text “Support” to 85511.