7 Ways to Help Your Child Beat Mental Health Problems Associated with Winter
Although we may not want to admit it, the return to the classroom, does mean that winter is coming (which we probably want to admit even less). For many people the changing of the leaves into rich yellows, oranges and reds, means the blessing of the harvest is upon us as we harvest our gardens, and reap the rewards of our efforts. For others though, it means, soon the leaves will start falling, and after that, the first flakes of winter will start to appear. With winter comes shorter days, less light, colder weather, and of course changes to our own mental health. In the next series of blogs, I will explore some common mental health concerns and problems that can arise and some ways we can address them.
Some of the most common mental health problems associated with Winter, can actually start to be addressed right now.
For example, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), Cabin Fever, Loneliness and Isolation, Reduced Physical Activity, poor diet choices, and holiday stress and pressure are lurking around the corner, so why not start addressing them now?
1. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD):
SAD is a type of depression that occurs during specific seasons, most commonly in winter. It's often linked to reduced exposure to natural light. Symptoms include low energy, mood swings, and changes in sleep patterns. To combat SAD, consider using light therapy lamps, spending time outdoors during daylight hours, and maintaining a regular sleep schedule.
2. Cabin Fever:
Spending long periods indoors due to cold weather can lead to cabin fever, characterized by restlessness, irritability, and feelings of confinement. Combat cabin fever by scheduling outdoor activities, even brief walks, and maintaining social connections through virtual or in-person meetings.
3. Loneliness and Isolation:
Winter can exacerbate feelings of loneliness and isolation, especially for those who live alone or are far from loved ones. To counter this, make an effort to stay connected with friends and family through regular calls, video chats, or safe in-person visits. Joining online groups or classes can also help combat isolation.
4. Reduced Physical Activity:
Cold weather can deter us from physical activity, leading to a decrease in mood-boosting endorphins. Engage in indoor exercises like yoga, home workouts, or dance routines to keep your body and mind active. Establish a routine to ensure consistency.
5. Poor Diet Choices:
The winter season often brings comfort foods that may not support good mental health. Consume a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and quality grass fed meat, which can positively impact mood. Limit sugar and caffeine intake, as they can lead to mood swings and energy crashes.
6. Stress and Holiday Pressure:
The holiday season can be stressful due to expectations, financial strain, and family dynamics. Set realistic expectations, talk to family and limit gift totals per person (ie $20-$50 per person), prioritize self-care, and don't hesitate to seek support through therapy or counseling if needed.
7. Seek Professional Help:
If you or someone you know experiences severe symptoms of depression, anxiety, or any other mental health condition during the winter months, don't hesitate to seek professional help from a therapist, counselor, or psychiatrist.
As we said on the farm, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. If you know trouble awaits, start taking meaningful steps to address before it becomes a major concern.
"Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face." Victor Hugo
Come heal, grow and create together
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