5 Tips to Conquer Winter and Care for Your Mental Health

Updated: Jul 29

Winter is coming.

A lot of people dread it: the cold zaps their energy. Seasonal affective disorder is always lingering around the corner. Sickness seems to run rampant, with the same flu/cold/bizarre combination of symptoms just getting passed around members of the same household.

And for moms who stay home with little guys, it means the loss of so many activities! It is the season of being cooped up, with so much less to do and so many fewer ways to wear out those little tykes who don’t know how lucky they are to have the levels of energy they do.

For moms who work, it is the season of leaving the house while it’s still dark and coming home when it’s dark. It’s feeling the need to put together a hot meal since it’s so cold out where, over the summer, a sandwich didn’t feel so bad or you could always fire up the grill; but who wants to cook a hot meal after all those work meetings that could have been emails?

So. With that in mind, let’s take just a quick few minutes to talk about how can you proactively mitigate some of those effects of the dreaded winter season. I don’t have a magical equation of steps that will beat all of the negatives of the wintertime, but I do have a few that can make it a little less dreadful.

1) Invest in really good outerwear. I am talking some warm pants, boots, socks, coats, hats, and gloves. Get it now, so when you need to use it, it’s already in your home.

Why? If you have the right outerwear, you can bundle up and still go outside during the winter. Getting out of your house, getting fresh air, and even getting some sun when it is peeking out can be pivotal to helping beat the winter blues. You don’t have to be outside for an entire hour. But a 10-20 minute walk can do WONDERS. I’d encourage having a friend, partner, or family member on board because we all know it goes more quickly when you’re gabbing away! Encourage your kids to do the same—they need fresh air, too!

2) Talk to your doctor about any supplements you might be needing, particularly B12, fish oil, and Vitamin D. When we aren’t getting the right energy levels in our bodies from nutrients, everything feels worse. When we are also cooped up indoors, that effect compounds. Making sure we are set with the fuel we need can be the difference in creatively coming up with a new imagination game for the little guys or that push to get outside during the cold weather.

3) If you can afford it, time a getaway to warmer weather. You can do it as a family, or as a couple, or as a mom-cation. Even if it’s just a 2-3 day trip, a change in temperature can help split up that time spent in the cold temps day after day. End of January through the end of February is prime for this vacation opportunity.

4) Look now at activities in the area, especially kid-friendly ones, so when you feel some cabin-fever and just need to get out, you already have a list of places. Urban Fort Play Café, Monkey Joe’s, the Museum of Transportation are all great options. Research them now, while you still have some energy, and keep a small notebook, so you can just reference it on the day you need O-U-T. Also, look at activities you can do at home-science experiments, art activities, imagination games. Consider stocking the goods you need for these activities. Again, make a list and keep it handy so if you’re just “having a day”, you already have the brainstorming portion (usually the hardest!) done! Include your kids and husband in the list-making so it becomes robust!

Also: don’t be afraid to let your kids be bored sometimes! It is out of boredom that personalities develop, hobbies become nurtured, and new strengths discovered.

5) Carve out time at least once a week to do something cozy. What the heck am I talking about? Think about the first parts of winter that make you happy: a fire going; pulling out that hoodie you love; hot cider. They make us smile just thinking about it. If we continue to demarcate those “cozy” options as “special” and “happy”, and also specifically make time for them to seem like an “event” in our life, it helps us exist more symbiotically with winter. If you can’t beat it, join it, right?! And if you don’t quite believe me, check out this article that talks about how perhaps Denmark ranks so high on the “happiest countries” list despite having long winters. https://www.mnn.com/family/family-activities/blogs/how-hygge-can-help-you-get-through-winter

If you have any other tips, share below!

Talk to you soon!