Feeling the Winter Blues? You’re Not Alone.

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The onset of winter brings on a mixed bag of physical and emotional states: joy and stress, illness and elation, busyness and depression. Namely, it can trigger many cases of “Winter Blues.”

It’s important to realize that everyone has their own reasons for feeling the way they do at this time of year. Some experience a level of Seasonal Affective Disorder and long for warmer temps and sunshine. Others struggle with grief or depression around the holidays, or are tired of suffering through cold and flu season. The common thread is that if we don’t feel good, we all want to find ways to lift ourselves out of the winter blues. 

Get Those Endorphins

One of the best ways to lift the spirits is to work out. Yoga is especially effective for me when my body and/or emotions are not at their peak. When I’m stuck in the house with sick kiddos, I am definitely more susceptible to the winter blues. When everyone is resting, I go to YouTube for the many free yoga videos. My favorite is Boho Beautiful, a very zen gal who practices yoga in different places all over the world. Notably, the backdrops are gorgeous and she offers a variety of free yoga workouts for whatever mood or physical state you find yourself in. You can find them on YouTube or HERE on her website.

And Get Those Kids Involved, Too

Indeed, if we’ve been cooped up due to frigid temperatures or illness, my kids definitely need to release some energy. They may even be experiencing their own version of winter blues. We use GoNoodle to kick up those endorphins and move our bodies. GoNoodle is a movement-centered online tool for kids that can be used at school or at home. In fact, schools use it in classrooms to give kids a break from sitting still and to help with attention and behavior. By and large, the videos include fun moves and catchy beats, dancing and singing with the KidsBop kids, and even deep breathing for calming down. You can sign up at their website gonoodle.com, find videos on YouTube, or download the app.

Laughter Is Key

Never underestimate the power of a good sitcom or stand-up routine. Certainly, we are fortunate in our age of technology to be able to access any of our tried-and-true favorite feel-good shows or movies. Depending on my mood, I know when I need to indulge in some John Hughes films, Bravo TV, or episodes of Friends. Feeling those winter blues creeping up on you? Take the time to relax and enjoy your all-time favorites. Truly, it’s good for the soul.

A Little Help From Our Friends

The winter blues thrive in isolation. And yes, it is possible to feel lonely even when you are home with your kids. Getting out of a funk sometimes requires a little help from our friends. Reach out to friends and family for support, even if it’s the last thing you want to do. Believe me, when I go into a depression, I concoct every excuse in my brain not to be social. In reality, I’ve found that even if I’m tired and I don’t feel like taking the time to get ready to go meet friends, I’m ALWAYS glad I did. All in all, I come home refreshed and rejuvenated, and feeling supported and connected. 

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Melissa Mark
Melissa Mark and her husband Tyler are both Phoenix natives who moved to Flagstaff in 2008. With her Master's degree in Community Counseling, she worked as a therapist in Wickenburg, Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Flagstaff, mostly specializing in eating disorders. They have two boys, Nolan (8) and Landon (6), who keep them equally busy and entertained. Melissa is fascinated by people and loves to learn about different personalities, backgrounds and interests. This could explain her obsession with reality TV (mostly on Bravo), good novels, and talking with friends over a glass of wine. Melissa writes about juggling motherhood, family life, wellness, humor, pop culture, and more on her personal blog: http://ajourneytobalance.com/