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10 Ways to lift your spirits during a long winter


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Theresa Civantos Barber - published on 01/08/22

Here are some proven ways to take care of your mind and body during these cold months.

Winter is a difficult season for a lot of people. The reduced sunlight, freezing temperatures, and cabin fever it brings can do a real number on your mental health. It’s no wonder many people deal with seasonal affective disorder this time of year. 

If you find yourself struggling this winter, do make it a priority talk to a mental health professional for the best advice. But for milder cases of the “winter blues,” we have a some simple tweaks you can make to our daily life to boost your spirits. Hopefully these 10 tips can help you to thrive and take good care of yourself in the months ahead!

1Get enough sleep

Sleeping too much or too little leaves us feeling aimless and depleted. Getting the right amount of sleep is a guaranteed way to take great care of your brain and body. 

If you have trouble falling asleep, some have success taking bedtime teas and putting a solid bedtime routine in place.

2Nourish your soul with prayer

Taking time to pray each day brings God’s peace into our souls. You might pray the Rosary, attend Mass or watch Mass online, or engage in mental prayer and meditation.

If you’re craving community, try praying along with others, such as at ManyHailMarysAtATime or on the Lux app.

3Nourish your body with whole foods

While processed foods may leave us with a sugar crash or a tummy ache, whole and healthy foods give us energy and help regulate our moods. A nourishing diet is a great way to take care of yourself this winter. If you’re getting limited sunlight, be sure to take a Vitamin D supplement as well.

Ketut Subiyanto | Pexels CC0

4Move your body

It can be hard to find the motivation to exercise, but it’s a really great tool to have in your mental-health arsenal: Exercise has an almost magical ability to put you in a good mood (thanks, endorphins)!

Check out a free fitness app (I’m partial to FitOn) or meet up with a friend for a winter hike. Even vacuuming and mopping your house or playing in the snow with your kids can work to get in more steps and be active!

5Write down one thing you’re grateful for every day

A daily practice of gratitude helps us focus on God’s good gifts in our lives, and is proven to improve our mood and sense of well-being.

Taking time to thank God is part of our Christian vocation: The Eucharistic Prayer tells us, “It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere to give [God] thanks.”

6Set aside time to do things you love

Few things lift our hearts quite like diving into a fun hobby! Whether it’s baking, bird watching, knitting, reading mystery novels, or anything else you enjoy, working on a hobby will do you good.

7Look for ways to help others

Loving and helping others fulfills our Christian vocation to serve, and lifts our spirits, too! You might shovel snow for an elderly neighbor, organize a meal train for a sick friend, leave a thank-you gift for your postal worker, or surprise a friend by dropping off a hot coffee or freshly baked treat.

8Limit mindless screen time as much as possible

Most of us don’t have a choice about using screen for work or school, but it’s wise to take digital breaks as much as possible. We know too much screen time isn’t good for our mental health. Mindless scrolling leaves us feeling empty, but we’ll feel better if we use that time more productively. (I like using Opal to block distracting apps at targeted times.)

9Make plans with friends

You might organize a football game watch at a local brewery, organize a backyard bonfire with your book club, or plan a standing phone date with your sister. Socializing is one of the best things you can do for your mental health!

10Get outside

Yes, the weather outside is frightful. But playing outside is so delightful! Fresh air is so good for the mind and body, even in winter.

You’ll feel invigorated and refreshed after a winter walk or going ice skating, snow shoeing, or sledding. Even simple snow angels at the park make for a good time and good mood!

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