Are You Mentally Ready for Dark Winter?
Kansas is a part of the country that actually experiences all four seasons. None of them are overbearing, and each one last just about as long as it should. But for some of us the dark winter can seem like it lasts forever.
The constant cold. The lack of sunlight. Very little fresh air. Any of these by themselves would be enough to bring you down mentally, but when all three are constant pressures for months on end, it can be enough to seriously effect your mental and emotional wellbeing. Even if you're not one of these people, there's a really good chance that you know someone who is.
While there doesn't seem to be an effective way to believe you're on a Caribbean beach all winter, there are a few things you can do or ways you can encourage others who are struggling with a tough, dark season. Here are a few that professionals say help, and we agree.
We all know about the connection between body movement and mental wellness. Exercise releases endorphins that help in two ways: they interact with reactors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain, and they also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine.
In addition to the chemical advantages, keeping a consistent schedule for your workout and sticking with it subconsciously reminds you that you can get through anything, no matter how hard or long suffering it may be. Keep moving. Keep achieving.
Additional Physical Tips: Clean diet and elevated Vitamin D levels make a big difference!
Mental Focus Training
Whether you're a person of faith or not, there are proven benefits to mental focus training like prayer, meditation, and mantras. Re-centering your being on God, positivity, or another higher power is a great way to start and end your day, or to start over when you're feeling overwhelmed.
These types of focus trainings have proven effects beyond mood improvement. Your brain shows measurable changes. Prayer and meditation lower anxiety levels and reduce fatigue, as well as adding to a positive routine.
Additional Mental Tips: Paint your walls a bright color, add a new enjoyable smell to your sleeping or working space!
Find the Light
There's a reason why Caribbean islands get such high traffic during the winter. The warm sun is healing in just about every way, especially in the doldrums of January. If you're able to, get out of the cold for a while. Go someplace warm to help improve your mood.
If you're like many of us, an extra vacation isn't usually in the cards, but there are other options that certainly help. Set up your work space near a window that gets sunlight. Or, if that's not an option, pick up a light therapy lamp to simulate sunlight. If you're really creative, find a friend with a greenhouse where you can set up a lawn chair. If you play your cards right, this is a way to get a rare winter tan without buying a plane ticket.