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Winter brings cloudy, sunless days, and dark winter storms that can dampen your mood just as easily as they drown the world outside your window. When you feel the sadness start to creep in, you need ways to fight it off. Here is our quick list of ways to fight back the winter blues by counting your blessings and sharing your bounty with others around you. Learn how to thrive this winter as you take account of all the wonderful things in your life.
Count Your Blessings
We tend, as humans, to be pretty negative thinkers. We’re always looking for something better and we forget to appreciate the things we have. This can be especially true for people suffering from mental health issues, through no fault of their own. People with depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems can have an especially hard time in the colder, darker times of the year and need to take extra care to find ways to remind themselves of the good things in their life. The holidays, in particular, can be hard for everyone, but if you already struggle with these issues they can go from sad to tragic very quickly.
So count your blessings!
When I am struggling with my depression I find this helps. It may take a day or two, but reminding myself of all the ways I am blessed instead of the ways I am miserable does help to improve the chemical imbalance over time.
Start small if you need to. Start with being thankful for a roof over your head. Be thankful that you have food in your pantry. Be thankful for your car, for your bed, for your children, and your spouse. Take a step back from the heady rush of the world and focus on the moment and all you have, rather than what you’re reaching for.
Practice Thankfulness to Thrive in Winter
I do not assume everyone reading this blog is religious. Even in our home, there are a wide variety of different beliefs and practices, but that does not mean you cannot take a moment to practice thankfulness. Every day, at least once a day, stop and thank God, the universe… the Flying Spaghetti Monster, whoever! for one thing, that you are thankful for.
Mean it. Pick something new every single day. Get your brain focusing on the full breadth and scope of goodness in your life. Break the cycle. Pull yourself out of the rut. Getting through a downturn in depression is not unlike being sick in bed. When the fever is gone, you throw back the covers and get up. You open a window to let in the fresh air and push the sickness back out.
Practicing thankfulness is opening that window to let fresh, clean, healing air into your mind. It helps push out the darkness that is suffocating your heart and mind. It helps you thrive in winter, instead of just surviving.
Share Your Thankful Blessings with Others
Find a way to share what you have, even if you don’t have very much. The act of sharing does so much to improve mood! If you can afford it take time every week to make small care bags and deliver them to a nearby homeless or women’s shelter. All they need is some travel shampoo, a pair of socks and gloves, and some snacks. Get your kids involved and clean out toys in good condition and donate them to nearby organizations that help homeless families. If you’re planning to get new luggage or have backpacks in good shape, reach out to your local foster organizations – you would be amazed how many foster children carry everything they own in a trash bag.
If you can’t afford to spend money, spend time. During the winter there are numerous organizations that need people to volunteer their time to hand out food or clothing. Spend time being a mentor to children or working with foster kids when they’re waiting for placement.
You don’t have to be wealthy to change lives! You, yourself, are valuable and when you take time to share your life, your skills, your time, and even just your smile, you bring blessings and hope into the lives of others. Their joy comes back to you.
Thankfulness is one of the best ways to thrive this winter.