2 Steps to Beating the Winter Blahs

Washington MO Waypoint counseling winter blahsJanuary is a tough time of year for many people. The push of the holidays has faded to a letdown of “nothing much happening.” Whether it was the intense stress of preparation and difficult family relationships, or the rush of fun and excitement, there is a natural letdown when it’s all over. Combine that with cold temps and short hours of daylight, and we just want to hibernate like the wild animals.

Maybe they’re on to something there. While not hibernating completely, we could take the winter months a little more slowly.

Even in the business world, not much is happening. Sure, there is work to be done, but people are not interested in buying and selling much at this time of year. It’s the Winter Blahs.

So what to do about it? I recommend a two-pronged approach:
1) Acceptance first, and THEN
2) Decide if action is needed

Acceptance simply means getting your head around the reality that things are the way they are. This does not mean you like it; you just “get it.” And then you give yourself and others some grace to do things a little more deliberately. Perhaps not as much will get done around the house. Maybe your meals are simpler, but still healthy. (Start with whole, real foods, and then prepare them simply. Minimize processed foods whenever possible, as they put additional stress on your body.) You can keep in touch with your business contacts, yet realistically accept that they might not feel the need for much help or product over the next few weeks.

Action? After you accept the reality of the blahs, you then have the freedom to choose: Do I need to DO something to change my mood, or simply accept the way it is? Maybe it is enough to realize you’re not alone and to live accordingly. If you do choose to take action, I highly recommend some form of movement. Exercise is just about the only way to get more endorphins, those “feel good chemicals” in your brain. Bundle up and take a short walk. Chase your pets. You can even go up and down your stairs a couple times. Just get moving!

Taking action could also look like making a connection with a friend. Go out for coffee, take that walk with a neighbor, or call someone on the phone. Or you could try something new. If you’re interested in learning to knit, get some nice-feeling yarn and a set of needles, and then look on YouTube for a tutorial. Maybe you’ve never done weight training, so you go to a free demo at a local gym. The key is to nudge those feelings of interest and pleasure. Don’t expect a lot of excitement. Just focus on surviving these challenging months, knowing spring is sure to come.

If you’d like to talk more about a particular issue, I would be happy to meet with you personally. Just give me a call at 636-234-0035 and we’ll schedule a time to talk. My office is conveniently located in downtown Washington Missouri across from the Old Dutch Restaurant.

I look forward to helping you feel better!
Katie Walker, Licensed Professional Counselor

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