Here’s 4 ways to help with mental health through the winter – they’re simpler than you think and can make a HUGE difference! This post is sponsored by Walmart – as always, all opinions are always 100% my own.
The winter months are upon us, and for many of us, this means cold weather and limited sunshine. I’ve talked on my Instagram very openly about how I have been working at being proactive about my mental health through the winter. This has made a HUGE difference in the quality of life I have through the cold months, and then for my family. If you’re able to model healthy navigation through the long winter months, it can be such a gift to your family as well as yourself!
1. Get outside. Every day.
I put this first because it’s made the biggest impact on my mental health through the winter. Instead of hibernating inside (which I know, is super tempting), I force myself to get outside and move my body for 10 minutes every day. If it’s a power walk – awesome. A jog down the street – wonderful! Taking the puppy for a very slow and distracted walk – it counts! The point is to move your body in some way and get some fresh air on your face. Sometimes, 10 minutes is all I can fit in. But many times, it’s just the hardest to actually get out the door. Once we get outside and are wearing the appropriate layers, then we realize it actually can feel pretty great to be out there!
Speaking of winter layers – I understand that this can get expensive quickly. I’ve been on the hunt for inexpensive layering pieces that will help me get outside in the winter, and I found that Walmart has some wonderful pieces that do just that this year! The clothes I’ve found on Walmart are quality pieces that actually fit my budget. I personally love the Time and Tru brand and am so happy that Reebok is now carried there too!
Here are some of my favorite finds this season (click each picture to be brought to the affiliate link on Walmart):
2. Prioritize seasonal produce + less processed foods
OK I know I sound like a broken record with this, but that’s because it works! At this time of year, there’s so many sugary treats being passed around. I’m even baking them! I’m not saying you can’t eat the Christmas cookies, I’m just encouraging you to be mindful of ALSO eating seasonal produce. I’ve found that it also really makes a difference if I’m eating less processed foods and cooking more at home.
During the winter months, this looks like lots of soups, chili, stew, sourdough bread, and roasted vegetables. Here’s some recipes that might help you if you’re looking for some ideas:
- Best sourdough recipes + tips on how to start
- How to use one whole chicken for 3 meals
- Sausage kale soup recipe (a family favorite for years)
- Best chili recipe + savory cornbread
3. Choose connection
This one. Woof. It’s not easy. Our kids are currently 5, 8, and 10. We are in a super full and busy stage of life. I LOVE it and also feel maxed out quickly. When we say “yes” to all. the. things. it typically makes us say “no” to our sanity.
I’ve had to learn (the hard way) that we need to say “no” to the things that aren’t helping us keep our sanity. Sometimes that means saying “no” to great things! But by saying “no” to more things, it helps our “yes” to be even more powerful and special.
We are trying to prioritize the things that bring us closer as a family and closer to other families we love.
4. Serve others
One of the greatest ways we can get out of our own heads and our own issues is to help focus on others. This looks so different in various stages of life! Some years you may have more time to volunteer, some years you will have more money to donate, and some years you’ll have more creativity. Use what you have, at this time in your life, and do what you’re able to.
Here are some things we’ve done in the past or are hoping to do in the near future:
- help out at your local food pantry (we could do this with our kids too!)
- collect donations for a local animal shelter
- contribute to your local library
- fill a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child
- donate a gift through Angel Tree
- make dinner for a family who could really use it (new baby, job loss, health complications)
- bake for neighbors and give them a surprise on their doorstep
- make a craft and help decorate a local nursing home
There are SO MANY great ways to use your talents and gifts (or just time and resources) to help others. Get creative and enjoy!
I hope that these 4 ideas help to jump-start your healthy winter season. Of course, if you’re in need of more help, then you absolutely should reach out to a licensed and trained professional. I have been there and counseling (plus medication as needed) is something that can be crucial in certain seasons of life as well.