Monday, March 6, 2017

Winter Blues

We have amazing resources right here in Lassen County. Good people that are always willing to help, like Marriage and Family Therapist (and former Editor of the Lassen County Times) Shayla Ashmore. I asked Shayla for some tips to help combat the winter blues and WOW! So here it is, FREE of charge, PROFESSIONAL advice on enjoying the winter months~

Say goodbye to the winter blues
By Shayla Ashmore, MA, LMFT
After months of preparation and planning, the holiday comes and goes in a few short hours, and often, it doesn’t live up to our childlike expectations. We may end up with a case of the winter blues. It’s not just the nonexistence of the perfect holiday, many other seasonal factors contribute:
  • lack of sunlight;
  • lack of activity;
  • fatty, sweet and salty foods;
  • negative thoughts;
  • cold;
  • previous negative experiences associated with the season or a specific day,
  • grief,
  • difficult travel
  • added stress of planning and preparation and the natural letdown that follows
If the winter blues lasts for more than a few days, and affects the quality of daily life through lack of enjoyment in previously pleasurable activities, difficulty sleeping, weight gain or loss, fatigue, inability to concentrate and feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness it’s not just winter blues. The previous list are symptoms of clinical depression and necessitate professional help. Call the doctor and get some professional counseling.
 There are, however, effective ways to combat a mild case of the winter blues. The best antidote to any temporary challenge in our thinking is to find things we enjoy and do them as often as possible.  The opportunities in this area are legion:
  • get out and move
  • stand in the sunshine for five minutes
  • ride a bicycle
  • ski
  • cross country ski,
  • snowshoe,
  • walk on the Bizz Johnson or the trails at Susanville Ranch Park, Modoc Line, Bald Mountain, Lake Almanor Recreation Trail, Eagle Lake, etc.
  • get together with friends
  • join a reading or writer’s group,
  • learn a new skill
  • resume a favorite craft
  • build something
  • think empowering thoughts
  • read an uplifting book
  • watch a funny video and laugh out loud
Determine to think positive thoughts and every time a negative thought intrudes, fight it with a positive one.  If you talk to yourself in tones of gloom, gloom will take over your thinking. But if you continually talk back in positive tones, over time, your brain cleans out the less-used thoughts and give prominence to the positive statements. Replace automatic thoughts like, “stupid,” “klutz” or “I can’t take this,” with thoughts like, “I learned something,” “I’m glad gravity is still working,” or “I can do this.”
When we concentrate on what we enjoy, move and think, “I can do this,” the winter blues melt away. This year, instead of making a New Year’s resolution, make a new life resolution and move, think well and have fun. 

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