Ways Winter Can Boost Our Mental Health
Some have an aversion to winter, and can you really blame them? There’s chatter surrounding possible storms or blizzards. There’s loneliness, depression and anxiety that may be coupled with the holiday season. And then there’s the chronic cold that dares people to pack their bags and book a tropical getaway. (Or at least think about making a great escape for warmth.)
However, winter can rejuvenate our spirits. Here are several ways this chilly season can boost our mental health:
Take a wintry stroll.
The cold air reminds us we have no choice but to become aware of what’s around us. We observe our smoky breath from frigid temperatures. We observe the branches that are now bare.
At times, the early afternoon sunlight illuminates these desolate trees and emptiness never seems so captivating and lovely. And when the snow gently covers what we see, there’s a feeling of hope. Anything is possible; nothing is too crazy. Interestingly enough, the winter season is when nature appears to be dying. Yet, the cool, crisp air and the scenic landscape give us a feeling of rebirth.
Our closets are packed with scarves and hats and leather and wool. More important, our layers of clothing serve as insulation — literal armor for what we’ll face in the months ahead. Moments of fear, insecurity, stress and discomfort are already cushioned, already protected by winter’s foundation.
Partake in snowy activities.
Embark on a winter adventure. We can retain a sense of childish innocence and youthful energy as we participate in ice skating (clinging to the wall is allowed and can still be somewhat enjoyable). We can glide down snowy hills by snowboarding, snow tubing or skiing. We can construct (or attempt to construct) a snowman, reliving quirky moments of our childhood. We can drink cups of tea or hot cocoa afterward, allowing the revitalizing liquid to soothe our insides.
Revel in indoor fun.
Grab a friend and lounge on a comfy coffee shop couch on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon (I personally love the spots that sport rustic furniture, brick walls and other artsy decor.) Let these cafes become a warm, safe haven from the cold.
Other fun indoor ventures include baking: fresh pies, gooey cookies, chocolatey chocolate brownies and other delicious desserts are all encouraged. Snack on these tasty treats while watching a favorite movie. Cuddling with loved ones is always welcome.
Embrace cozy chats.
We can curl up by the fireplace or anywhere that’s cozy and immerse ourselves in substantive and meaningful conversations. We’re not going anywhere in that moment. We’re here. We’re breathing. We’re alive.
Many shudder at the thought of enduring the winter season. However, taking refreshing and revitalizing wintry strolls, indulging in snowy activities, reveling in indoor fun and embracing cozy chats — dialogues that spark human connection — can be viewed as winter’s more positive aspects.
If it’s autumn’s vibrant and ever-changing nature that perks us up after hot summers, where we slowly maneuver our way through the blazing sun, then it’s winter that really smacks us awake. We’re here. We’re breathing. We’re alive.
Suval, L. (2018). Ways Winter Can Boost Our Mental Health. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 4, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/blog/ways-winter-can-boost-our-mental-health/