Therapist’s 4 Tips on How to Beat the Winter Blues

The dreary, cold days seem to weigh you down. The feeling of being “stuck” in the house with your children for hours seems never-ending. The days feel longer than ever and you barely have the energy to drag yourself through them.

You are not alone mom. The colder seasons are known to bring with them the infamous winter blues. And as hard as I’ve tried to figure out how to beat the winter blues, sometimes it’s easier said than done.

Related: 5 tips for new moms to beat the winter blues

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a real thing, and mine has always been triggered by the onset of darker days and longer nights. Now that I’m a mom, it’s taken a double toll on my mental, physical, and emotional health. Because the routines I’ve established with my child during the warmer seasons—like daily walks or playdates at the park—are paused, feelings of sadness and loneliness ooze out in overwhelming amounts.

The colder seasons contribute to my lack of productivity, an increase in fatigue, and feelings of ongoing isolation—especially as a working, stay-at-home mom (cue double the winter blues).

I had the opportunity to speak with Maternity Therapist Chelsea Robinson, MSW, LCSW about Maternal Seasonal Affective Disorder and how moms who are struggling with the winter blues take care of their mental health and be conscious with theirs during the winter season handle productivity.

“Seasonal affective disorder is a form of depression characterized by a seasonal pattern that typically lasts four to five months. The winter pattern worsens in late fall/early winter and eases in early spring. These include additional symptoms such as weight gain, overeating, oversleeping and a withdrawal from social engagement. As the days get shorter and darker earlier, the sky gets grayer and it’s outside As they get colder, a person’s mood can basically reflect these changes in ways that prevent them from feeling fulfilled and engaged as they do during the spring and summer months.”

Related: 19 ways to feel happier this winter

“Feeling stuck at home with little ones all winter can take a toll on a mother’s mental health. The pressure to be creative and come up with new activities to keep your little ones busy and occupied, monitor screen time and make for an enriching society. emotional learning opportunities can feel intense and leave a mother feeling inadequate, bored and drained – cue mother burnout.”

Robinson went on to share how the decline in social activity can also be a component in moms struggling with the winter blues.

“The lack of social engagement during the colder months can also take its toll, leaving a mother feeling lonely and isolated, which can contribute to sadness, lack of motivation and possibly depression. When you’re feeling like this and it’s just like that, say mid-November, knowing that you have three to four more months of doing the same thing every day can feel extremely hopeless and scary.”

As dreary and discouraging as the winter blues may sound are Ways to Make Sure You Take Care of Yourself Mom. Robinson shared some seasonal affective disorder self-care tips for the moms wondering how to beat the winter blues and feel their best.

4 tips against the winter blues

1. Change your routine to suit the season

“Routine is so important, even if it needs to change from what it looked like during the summer months, it’s important to create a new fall and winter routine. Can you keep the same sleep schedule for yourself and your child’s nap schedule? Can you continue with simple rituals that brought you joy over the summer (e.g. journaling, mindful moments, etc.)?”

“And if you feel safe to keep up social activity, do it! What library courses are there? What indoor social activities can you and your child sign up for? If you have a partner or support (e.g. childcare, family in the area), schedule some time for yourself whenever you can. Reconnecting with yourself during these darker months can also help fill your cup. So take 30 minutes for yourself if you can.

2. Adjust your expectations

“Change your expectations, Mom. What you can “do” and “achieve” in summer does look different than what you can “do” in winter. That’s fact. So lower the expectations you have of yourself as you prepare for the upcoming season changes. And then plan what might look different for you.”

“Be conscious of your routine, have things to look forward to, and remember that you (and your whole self) matter – not just your little ones. When we act from a place of reactivity we can feel out of control in life, but when we plan for, or deliberately and thoughtfully consider upcoming changes, we tend to feel more in control of our situation.

3. Live in harmony with the seasons

“There is something to the idea of ​​seasonal living, or living in harmony with the seasons. Autumn and winter are times of introspection, self-reflection, cosiness and cuddling. It’s time to cook new stews, family recipes and take it on a new hobby like croissant baking.”

“It’s time to transform your home into a cozy oasis (think ‘hygge’) and create spaces in your home where you look forward to recharging, snuggling up in a blanket or reading a good book to read. Get your little ones involved Show them what slowing down means. Cuddle with them, read extra books, sit by candlelight and invite them to help you cook a new soup.

During the colder seasons I have started to take full advantage of the holidays. My newfound hobbies are decorating my home for the season, and one activity my child and I can indulge in together is shopping for decorations. On Thanksgiving and Christmas I give my all, embracing the celebrations with open arms so that I am constantly surrounded by family, joy and love.

4. Make an effort to leave the house

“While playing outside may not be as possible or enjoyable during the colder days, it can also be so rejuvenating (if just for a bit) and have a positive impact on your mental health,” Robinson shared.

Even on colder days, you can make an effort to get out of the house to avoid sulking in the winter blues. Maybe it’s grocery shopping, spending the day at your parents’ house, or taking your kid to the library. Now is your time to explore new places in your community—and build new traditions.

Related: Stay-at-home mom isolation is real

There’s no single way to beat the winter blues, but these tips are sure to be a good start to improve your mood, mom. You have have that – and we have have she!

Selected Expert

Chelsea Robinson, MSW, LCSW, is a mother, maternity therapist, matrescence coach, postpartum doula, and village builder. She is also the founder of Mama’s Modern Village.

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