We’re in the dead of winter right now. The winter school break is over for kids, the holidays have ended, and for many of us, the feelings of the winter blues are creeping in.
There are ways to enjoy time with your family and boost your mental health, even when the weather isn’t great. The following are tips and ideas.
Explore Where You Live
Winter can be a time when you feel uninspired or like your energy is slumping. You may not have any big travel plans until the spring since the kids are in school. With that in mind, make the most of the time you might be spending in your city and town.
You can explore where you live every weekend by going to different, new restaurants you haven’t tried. You can go to local museums or galleries or make it a mission to do one new thing you haven’t done locally every week.
This will give you a chance to spend time with your family outside of the house and feel a little more adventurous without going far.
It seems to be easier in the winter than other times of year to slip into a routine where you and your kids maybe don’t socialize with people outside of your family as much as you do when it’s warmer. Try to make a conscious effort not to let this happen.
Invite your friends and your kids’ friends over for fun get-togethers. Even just a simple dinner party can go a long way to alleviating symptoms of the winter blues.
When you spend time socializing with friends, you’re going to improve your mood and feel more socially supported.
Watch Your Media Intake
The winter means that you’re probably spending more time indoors. That can mean you’re exposed to more media in the form of news and social media than you would be during other times of the year.
While it’s important to be an informed person, you have to be mindful that you’re not going overboard with your consumption of news and media to the point it’s affecting your family’s mental health or your own.
Be careful about what you’re watching in your home and how much of it you’re all consuming.
You may not even realize how much the media affects your thoughts and feelings and your children, even if they seem to be passively consuming what’s on TV.
Going outside when it’s freezing or snowy is hard, but going out at least a few times a week is vital for your mental health and your kids’ mental well-being. When you spend all of your time inside, it starts to affect your whole family physically and mentally.
Going outside means you may be getting more physical activity, and even if the rays aren’t intense, you’re getting some sunlight.
A study recently found just twenty minutes a day of time spent outside can improve your mental well-being.
When you go outside, the sun helps your body produce vitamin D, which is good for our mood and immune system. Sunlight also helps your brain produce serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that promotes energy, calmness, and relaxation.
Start a Gratitude Journal
One of the best things you can do for your mental well-being all the time, whether it’s winter or not, is to have a gratitude journal. A gratitude journal helps you reflect and be mindful. You can think about the good things in your life. Research shows practicing gratitude is excellent for your mental health.
You can encourage your kids and the rest of your family to start a gratitude journal too.
It doesn’t have to be anything complex. Just have someplace to write down a few things you feel grateful for every day to center yourself and stay present, while also changing your outlook.
Eat Well and Take Vitamins
Finally, what you eat plays an enormous role in how you mentally feel, so don’t let your nutrition go on the back burner just because it’s cold out. Get your kids involved and as a family, think about making healthy, balanced, and nutritional meals.
These meals will help you stay energized and boost your mood, particularly when they have healthy fats that nourish the brain.
You might also think about taking a multivitamin and a vitamin D supplement in the winter since it is hard to get enough sunlight for your body to produce adequate amounts of the vitamin on its own.