Well, we’re smack in the middle of it…the winter that is. I don’t know about you but the conversations I’ve been having lately with my clients have focused extensively on winter’s effects on mental health.
It is reported that one in twenty adults experience recurring depression in the winter. The shorter days, lack of sunlight, wickedly cold temperatures and the distress of moving through slushy, snow-filled roads sucks us dry of our mood and energy. It’s no wonder why we feel tired and unmotivated, sad, depressed and lazy, why we gain weight and disconnect socially.
The truth is, we live in Canada – winter isn’t going anywhere quickly. So, to manage its effects we must consciously reenergize our body, which will undoubtedly reenergize our spirit.
First things first, get out there…in the snow that is. Get out with your kids if you can’t remember how to have fun in it. Make a snowman, have a shoveling contest, go tobogganing, or bundle up and walk to the video store. Get your family involved in a winter activity like skiing, snowshoeing, even outdoor skating. Winter is fun and kids are the best people to remind us of that. And don’t forget to follow up this family affair with a big mug of hot chocolate with extra marshmallows.
Taking care of ourselves in winter requires getting light. The sun’s vitamin D boosts energy and mood so getting out when the sun’s out is critical for improving mental health. Many of my clients have had success using a light box; one with 10,000 lux. It is said that about three in five people who use light therapy in the winter feel less sad usually in just a few days.
But getting out in the cold, even with the sun, is only half of the work required to stay mentally healthy. We must also reenergize ourselves after having been in the cold to promote circulation and maintain a balanced mood.
Hot baths are a great way to relax and reenergize the body and spirit. Peel and add into your bath a piece of raw ginger which will further promote circulation to the feet and hands, keeping the body warmer in cold temperatures. Get your partner to massage you, activating heat through the body. Light some candles and snuggle up together under some warm blankets by the fire. Remember, winter is cozy and sensual, and can be very romantic.
Another great way to treat our body and spirit in winter is to buy tea. Tea is filled with vitamins and minerals that enhance energy, promote circulation and fight off illness. Skip the Starbucks and invest in some loose-leaf tea from your local tea shop. For those living in Toronto, try the Rooibos Vanilla tea from the Tea Emporium which is a blend of vanilla and almonds and tastes almost creamy…just delicious!!!
So, put an end to those winter blah’s and get outside, get moving, get light, get heat and get happy! For more information on SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) have a look at www.mooddisorderscanada.ca.
Kyla’s column will appear on urbanmoms.ca in regular rotation. If you have questions for Kyla please share them in the comments below or send Kyla an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will select a few to respond to in her next post. If you or your family need specific information from Kyla, check out her website at www.kylafoxtherapy.com.
Disclaimer: The advice given by Kyla are merely suggestions for addressing personal problems/situations. It is not guaranteed to ensure change or success, as there are many ways to address the questions posed. Be advised that implementing Kyla’s strategies and following her suggestions is done at your own discretion. Kyla is not responsible for any outcomes that may come from following her advice.