Imagine yourself on a warm, sunny beach in southern California and you’ll likely be filled with healthy, positive thoughts. Now imagine yourself in the middle of a cold, winter storm. Suddenly, those positive feelings are a lot harder to hold on to.
For the average person, it can be challenging to maintain a positive outlook during the long days of winter. Compound those feelings with the struggle to stay sober and winter becomes a lot tougher – particularly if you struggle with depression and losing control of your sobriety.
Winter’s Impact on Mental Health
Thousands of people suffer from seasonal depression, also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). With SAD, you generally feel pretty optimistic about life in the spring and summer, but as the cooler fall days fade into darker winter nights, depression can creep its way back into your life. And once you’re depressed, it’s often monumentally difficult to stay sober.
A few of the most common SAD symptoms are
- Lack of motivation
We can’t change how long the sun shines or how much snow falls. What we can do, however, is to take the necessary steps to lessen the impact of seasonal depression.
While the weather is often not as ideal as in non-winter months, it’s still important to take in the benefits of nature.
Throw on an extra sweater, wrap up in a nice warm scarf and venture outdoors. Whether you are going for a run, walking the dog or watching kids make snow-angels, do your body a favor by breathing in that cool winter breeze. You might even be tempted to make a snow-angel of your own.
If the weather gets too bad for outdoor activities, make the most out of what you can do indoors.
If life is throwing lemons at you, you can choose to make lemonade. While bundled up with a cup of hot cocoa or Chamomile tea, remember to count your blessings and make a mental note of the the things you’re grateful for…even if it’s not the weather.
Getting Social, Staying Sober
One of the best ways to fight the winter blues is to stay connected with friends and family. Write, call or plan outings with loved ones.
Remember: It’s hard to feel down when you’re surrounded by people who love you and bring joy to your life. Resist the urge to stay holed up in your house all winter.
ADDITIONAL READING: 7 Sober Activities for Cold Winter Months
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