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The fall and winter here in the Midwest can be very long. It can be very gray and the sun doesn’t shine. This past month we had 10 days where the sun didn’t shine at all, which meant the winter blues came early.
During this season I have found that my energy level plummets along with my motivation and all my healthy eating habits. I become like a bear, wanting to just eat and hibernate. The craziest part is I want to eat brownies and ice cream and it’s freezing outside!
While reflecting on the situation of the sunless fall, I found myself listening to my son. He is 10 years old and he is usually so full of life and joy. But lately I noticed that he seemed sad. He doesn’t really have a reason to be sad. He is in a good class at school, his teacher is awesome and his grades are great. But when he talks to me, it’s like the end of the world is happening.
I have never had an issue with depression, but lately I have noticed as I get older my body does not do well when the seasons change.
Further research showed me that these symptoms are called SAD, seasonal affective disorder. A person can be diagnosed with this after 2 years of the same symptoms occurring. Having a sensitivity to the lack of daylight and sunshine is the primary reason for SAD.
Knowing that I was already feeling this way, and knowing the sun hasn’t been out in days which feels like weeks, I knew I had to implement some changes in our lives.
There are vitamins that help with the winter blues. The first is Vitamin D. Doctors recommend vitamin D to help our energy level and ‘sadness.’ I’m not going to tell you how many milligrams you should take, but a quick phone call to your doctor will give you the information.
Exercise helps your body fight the symptoms naturally. It also helps to increase your endorphines and a more positive outlook on life. Again, ask your doctor how much exercise you should be getting a week.
When my kid starts telling me how awful everything is at school. I change the conversation to what he is thankful for. To focus on what is good requires a different thought process. It is harder to think about the good things than to think about the bad. Try implementing a 21 days of thankfulness where you write down 3 things you are thankful for.
I purchased this Happy Lamp from Amazon on a recommendation from a friend. It is portable and not too big. I have been putting it on the kitchen island where my kids eat breakfast. The box says to start with 10 minutes a day and go up to 1.5 hours. All I know is it’s an easy way for my kids to feel better. I can not tell you how much I adore this thing! My biggest question is always why did I wait so long to order this?!!!
The busier you are, the less time you have to feel sad. Keeping a schedule and having things to do on the weekend, help keep your mind off the fact that you are tired, and looking for the sunshine.
Being part of the outside and breathing fresh air helps you to connect with nature. This helps to elevate your mood and your mental health. Despite it being cold, put some extra layers on, go outside and have a snowball fight.
Proper nutrition helps so much in helping your body fight off the winter blues. Preventing yourself from caving into the comfort foods of brownies, cookies and carbs helps your body to not feel so sleepy.
I have found that prayer helps me figure out what the problem is. When my I thought my son was struggling with winter blues, I prayed and that evening when putting him to bed, he said to me that he wished it was summer outside so we could play outside, have shorts on and enjoy the sunshine.
Having a plan to help you fight the winter blues is step in the right direction. This list is just a few suggestions that we have implemented to help my son and I. I actually took all the points and made them into a printable. You can download the printable from my library. All you have to do is sign up below for the password.
Stephanie has been blogging at Sticky Note Mom for 4 years. Before starting her blog she worked in the finance industry working on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade to working for major financial institutions with personal financial planning and the mortgage industry. Now she shares all she has learned about frugal living to help others learn how to stop spending and start saving more.