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Winter Wellness: Navigating Mental Health In The Cold Season

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Winter can be a taxing time for mental health. Whether you are afflicted by things such as depression, seasonal affective disorder, or general seasonal blues, it feels like now is a good time to touch base and give some tips on how to prioritize your mental well-being as you navigate the colder season. 

Chiliad in the Snow. Photo Credits: Annie Cassidy-Wren

As winter is fully upon us, with the shortened days and colder weather, you may start to or have already noticed yourself feeling more down than usual. Fatigue, sleepiness, irritability, and anxiety can be heightened at this time of year, and it’s important to both give yourself grace and do things that can help lift your mood. 

The first piece of advice is to talk to your friends, family, and loved ones about how you are feeling. Problems shared are problems halved, and the people in your life who care about you will, at the very least, be able to give you a shoulder to lean on. 

Photo Credits: Annie Cassidy-Wren

Granting yourself some grace is an important step in emotional well-being. Give yourself permission to feel, and remember that it is okay not to always be okay. Winter can be challenging for a number of reasons, and being kind to yourself is a key aspect of mental health. 

Even though the sun sets earlier and the nights may seem darker, getting outside is important! Take advantage of San Andreas’s beautiful views and get as much sunlight as possible. Hiking, running, and cycling are all beneficial, both to the body and mind. If you do go out exploring, remember that the San Andreas Park Rangers are there to help if you need it!

Photo Credits: Annie Cassidy-Wren

Routines are super helpful for getting yourself back on track. Doing simple things in the morning, such as stretching, drinking a glass of water, and eating a healthy meal before you leave your house or apartment, are all great ideas! Sometimes, it is okay to ignore your texts for half an hour while you prepare yourself for the day. Regular sleep patterns, normal mealtimes, and prioritizing activities that bring you joy benefit your long-term mental health. 

It may seem like an obvious option, but doing winter activities in the winter is a good idea. Winter sports such as sledding are (obviously) great at this time of year; you could try new things such as journaling, drawing/painting, or singing. Indoor activities can be just as fun, too, such as watching a movie with friends and loved ones or playing board games together.

Photo Credits: Annie Cassidy-Wren

Healthy, well-balanced meals are key to a person’s mental health. It seems cliche, but we are what we eat. Making sure you get parts of all of the main food groups that you are eating regularly and getting plenty of those good vitamins is a surefire way to help boost your mood. Speaking of, if you find yourself unable to get out much, purchasing Vitamin D pills will help you get the benefits of sunlight. 

If you are struggling, it’s helpful to remember that not everything needs to be done immediately. Set realistic goals for yourself to achieve, but don’t worry too much if you cannot resolve them in the time you had hoped. Breaking larger tasks into smaller ones is a good method of doing this. For example, instead of deciding you are going to clean your entire house in a day, start with the kitchen. When you’ve done that, and if you feel you can carry on, try the bathroom. Prioritize what needs to be done first, and do what you are able to. 

Photo Credits: Annie Cassidy-Wren

Lastly, if you feel like you are struggling, reach out to the San Andreas Medical Services, as the psychology department has recently re-opened for walk-ins, which are advertised via Y. The department plans to make these more regular, so keep an eye out. They are free, confidential, and can be used as needed. You can reach out to the psych department by going to Pillbox Medical and speaking to any member of staff, who will be able to put a referral in for you.

Stay safe and take care, San Andreas.

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