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Here’s my article!
I think that everyone in their life has experienced at some point a case of the “Monday Blues” or “Summer Blues”… Or, the “Winter Woes”… As I call them. It may sound silly, but it’s true. Maintaining your mental health can become more and more difficult as seasons change, especially as you go through winter months, in the dark, and in the cold.
I have up’s and down’s all year long, up’s and down’s that aren’t relevant to the weather, and seasons outside. But, without a doubt, those seasons outside can play a huge part in my recovery, and ability to snap out of those downs. In the summer, it’s warm; it’s bright, alive, and vibrant. Making it a little easier to go outside, go for a run, be active in sport, or enjoy the simplest things outside, like fresh air. Chances are, you’ll be able to come out of that funk that you fell into. The winter brings on a bit of a different challenge. It’s harder to go outside and enjoy those simple things. It’s darker. It’s colder. It’s less alive and, far less vibrant. Not too mention, that you’re neighbor or colleague probably has not stopped complaining to you about it being winter outside, and cold.
For me, personally… There are times I really struggle to stay balanced and even keel throughout the winter. I find sometimes I can just become so robotic, and isolated. I go to work, go to hockey practice, and by the time I come home at 7:00pm, It’s already cold, dark and still outside. Leaving little to no motivation to do anything further. I find I get tired quicker, I get lazy, and I just get… stuck. To combat this emptiness, I try and stay as busy as I can… giving myself lots of things to do. I stay busy with hockey, and try to stay busy writing, and finding other things. At the moment, I am trying to find some way to work out at home, so I can stay warm, and away from gyms, and I want to start reading more.
The best tip I can give, is before winter really hits, and before you get sucked into it’s woes. Plan ahead, and know that it’s coming. Know that you fall into winter lulls. Think of some things you’re going to do to stay busy, and stay active. Go swimming 1-2x a week, have a movie night with a friend, spend lots of times with friends and when it is one of those warm winter days. Take every single opportunity you can to embrace it. Ski. Snowboard. Snowshoe. Build a snow man, snow fort… whatever it is. If you’re able to get into a routine of activity, it’ll keep you busy, keep your mind off the winter woes, and then leading into spring, you won’t find yourself trying to get out of a slump for a month or so, which I know I often find myself doing.
Winter is beautiful, there are many, many things about winter that should be enjoyed, and cherished, but there are also many traps that come with winter that can be so easy to get stuck in. Plan ahead and stay out of those ruts. Be prepared now, so that when it is dark, cold and dull outside… You have options, and you have a plan. A plan that allows you to stay happy.
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