Welcome to the end of January in Canada, our most depressed time of year. We have just made it over the hump since the saddest day of the year has past but how do we make it through the rest of winter without becoming depressed? Here are 4 guidelines to help you stay mentally healthy this cold January.
I am thinking the same thing you are: ugh! here comes the exercise. You are right as taking care of our physical health helps keep us mentally healthy as well. Getting regular exercise, eating regular healthy meals and taking time to get enough sleep on a regular schedule will help regulate your body’s natural chemicals and help you stay in control of your emotions.
I hope our next category perked you up a little cause it’s time to party! Staying socially active in January is tough as we all like to hibernate and stay close to home which is fine - just do it with friends and family. Turn off the TV and spend time with people - talk to your fiends and family, play with your children and pets. Most of all go out of your way to help someone else out.
Thoughts are tricky, we can be having a pretty good day and all the sudden negative thoughts start racing through our minds. Waking up to snow to shovel, or someone cutting you off in traffic are minor examples of how environmental factors can switch our negative thoughts on. There is also our own self-esteem and other people’s behaviours which can contribute to it. So how do you switch from negative to positive? Start noticing the positive things around you - your own abilities, talents, gifts, or the sun coming out, your child’s hug, or that you have food on your table and a nice warm comfy bed. There are so many blessing around us that we just simply miss because we are busy and do not take the time to stop and appreciate them. Let’s all take a deep breath right now while reading this and think of three things that you are grateful for today.
Studies have shown when you become involved in your faith community it increases your overall life satisfaction. Take some time to spend with God and practice your own faith. The amazing thing is that this can easily be combined with the other things on this list as becoming involved with your faith community will elevate your social life, thought process and physical activity.
Thank you for taking a little time for yourself today by reading this list. If you are interested in knowing more about depression, I am presenting an educational night on depression and anxiety on February 9, 2016 at 7 pm. For more information, see the events listing on my website www.helpps.ca.