The Rocky Mountain State is an amazing place to call home, from the breathtaking natural landscapes to the endless supply of winter activities, like skiing and sledding. But the long winter months in Colorado can take a toll on your mental health. Snowstorms can frustrate your work commute and leave you scrambling to manage your childrens’ snow days. The cold temperatures may prevent you from fun outdoor activities and a lack of sun limits your vitamin D intake. As much as you love Colorado, the winter season can lead to feelings of depression.
Fortunately, overcoming seasonal affective disorder isn’t as challenging as you may think. These five activities can nurture your mental health and keep you feeling fulfilled throughout the winter time.
5 Ways to Nurture Your Mental Health in Winter
1. Take Up Reading
The snowfall is great for activities like skiing, sledding and making snowmen. That being said, you can’t stay outside in the snow and cold all day and night. Being couped up inside is the perfect opportunity to get lost in a book. Reading can serve as a distraction for your brain during boring winter days, preventing negative thought patterns, impulses and jumping to worst case scenarios. Furthermore, reading can boost your concentration, creativity and overall mood, helping you ward off feelings of depression.
2. Practice Self Compassion
Those suffering from depression or anxiety oftentimes struggle to be kind to themselves. The trick to self-compassion is starting small and building your way up. For example, if you feel your depression start to mount throughout the winter, try to do something nice for yourself. For example, you could pay yourself one small complement each morning. Creating this habit will make it easier for you to start each day positively.
Self-compassion also includes monitoring the negative thoughts you have throughout the day. When a negative thought creeps up, pause and ask yourself if you would talk like that to a friend. Focus on positive thoughts and encouragement rather than putting yourself down.
3. Keep a Journal
Colorado winters can leave you feeling trapped and frustrated, with no productive way of expressing yourself. Keeping a journal can be a healthy way to vent your thoughts and feelings and release that excess energy you have. You can even bring your journal with you to work or school for an added sense of peace of mind. Plus, reviewing your journal once in a while can give you new insight into how the winter is affecting your mental health.
4. Spend Time Volunteering
Did you know that giving back to your community can boost your mood during the winter? Sometimes the best way to help yourself is by helping someone else. Volunteering can give you a higher sense of purpose, satisfaction and fulfillment.
If you’re looking for ideas, Volunteers of America has a list of opportunities you can explore. One of the great aspects of volunteering is that you can choose an activity that is related to one of your passions.
5. Start Mood Charting
How are you monitoring your daily run-ins with stress, depression and anxiety? Mood charting is a daily check in with yourself where you record your current state of mental health to stay on top of any negative thoughts or feelings you’re experiencing.
Once you start mood charting, it becomes easier to identify the causes of any depression you may be feeling. When you notice a change in your mood, you can take a look at your day and try to identify the trigger. These insights offer a window into what leads to your depression and can help you find solutions that mitigate these feelings.
Explore Expert Mental Health Treatment at The Raleigh House
At The Raleigh House, we know that depression and anxiety can make you feel isolated from the rest of the world. But any hopelessness you’re feeling does not have to control your life. You have the potential to break free from the feelings that are weighing you down, and our residential mental health treatment program can help.
Our personalized mental health treatment includes evidence-based treatments like individual and group therapy, as well as, experiential therapies like equine therapy and recreational activities. This holistic, east to west approach is designed to address your unique needs and help you overcome your depression.
When you’re ready to rewrite your story, we are here for you. Contact us today to learn more about our expert mental health treatment.