Have you ever considered the effects the environment has on your mental health? You might have noticed a correlation between dreary weather and dreary attitudes. This happens because humans have an innate awareness and need for comfortable environments – both physically comfortable and psychologically comfortable. Sometimes, it may be difficult to find those comforts during the bleak, winter months.

While you can’t control the weather, you can take control of your mental health. The weather might be gloomy, but that doesn’t mean your outlook has to be! Below, we offer ways to boost your spirits and take care of yourself this winter.

Turn on the lights

Or better yet, open the blinds and draw the curtains. Rooms with bright light – both natural and artificial – can improve health outcomes, such as depression and anxiety. Take note of how you feel once you’re surrounded by light. If you notice a positive change, make an effort to keep your house lit, to some degree, day and night.

Find activities that make you feel good

It’s easy to get caught up in a routine of work, eat, sleep and repeat. Make an effort to take time out of each day to do something you enjoy – no matter how big or small the activity. Indulge in a hobby or start a new project. Find positive activities that will help you express and control your emotions. Try painting, writing or going for a walk around your neighborhood. 

Don’t isolate yourself

Dreary days can influence a person’s motivation to act, leading to a tendency to isolate. Know that you aren’t alone. If you’re feeling blue or having a hard time getting motivated, talk to a friend or family member about it. Oftentimes, they may be experiencing similar emotions. If these emotions continue over days or weeks, making it hard for you to function, consider reaching out to a professional who can help.

In addition to the change in temperature, the impending stress of the holiday season can bring about a mix of emotions to those dealing with mental health challenges. Whether you’re battling anxiety over having to socialize without drugs or alcohol; depression over thoughts of a loved one you’ve recently lost; or discomfort about having to explain your sobriety to friends and family, don’t be discouraged – you aren’t alone!

Staying positive during the winter months can be difficult but definitely not impossible, and regularly talking with someone about it can help. If you’re looking for someone to talk to, our Mental Health and Substance Abuse counseling services might be what you need this winter. South Bay strives to provide the proper programs, certified staff members and clinicians for the perfect combination of professional therapy and guidance.

For more information, contact us at 508-521-2200 or click here