Edmonton Psychologist | Seasonal Depression Is A Real Issue
Welcome to part two of our in depth look at why people struggle during the winter in Edmonton and area. We have learned some chemical reasons why long dark days are difficult for our body and minds. In part two, we look at other stressors and what we can do to lift out spirits and mood as we count down days to warmer weather and brighter days. We are joined by expert Edmonton psychologist, Wanda Chevrette from ReDiscover Psychological.
The Cold Dampens Spirits
It’s easy to think of all the fun activities to do in the summer, admits Wanda Chevrette, the Edmonton psychologist owner of ReDiscover Psychology. From camping and biking, roller blading and hiking, going to the fair, riding in convertibles, walking, picnics and swimming – just to name a few. But in the winter, many people are chased inside by the cold weather.
Especially in Edmonton, where the temperature with the windchill is often -25 degrees Celsius or colder, with Edmonton consistently topping the top 10 coldest places on earth list. Making winter activities like ice skating, skiing, snowshoeing, and playing hockey difficult, ill advised, or downright dangerous.
We tend to want to stay where it’s warm, curl up and snuggle. But exercise can actually lift our spirits. If you are experiencing some winter blahs, get moving! Go to a gym (indoors, of course!) says Wanda Chevrette. You may be amazed at how even just half an hour of activity can boost your mood, and help you overcome those frozen blues.
Being stuck indoors during a cold snap can also strain relationships. Add seasonal affective disorder, holiday stress, financial concerns, and this can be a recipe for a stressful winter! Remember to communicate, and if you need to take yourself out of a situation, that’s much healthier than an argument out of stress and frustration. If you ever need to talk, contact the experts at https://rediscoverpsych.com/contact-us
Holidays Add Stress
Another reason why winter can be challenging, is that so many holiday celebrations are happening. And while many people may think that it should help people feel happier, that’s not always the case. The financial costs of creating the perfect holiday, from décor, activities, gifts and parties. To the emotional cost of getting together with extended family, or choosing not to that becomes the emotional burden. From Christmas, with parties and gifts, Hannukah with eight days of gifts, Kwanzaa and the traditional African feast to prepare, Winter Solstice Celebrations and Yule to New Years Eve celebrations for many cultures.
Set Clear Boundaries
It can be very beneficial, advises Wanda Chevrette, the Edmonton psychologist at ReDiscover Psychology to set limits and boundaries, even before the special events happen. Setting clear expectations with yourself and your family can help you stick to those boundaries, and help limit your stress. Set a gift budget, host potluck parties, and most important: let go of the desire to have the perfect holiday. In reality, the perfect celebration will have you fully immersed in the joy of the season, spending time with your family. And not with stressing over having a picture perfect scene for your social media. Let go and embrace the joy of the season!
Edmonton Psychologist | Create Your Own Joy
Though it’s dark and cold; brighter and warmer days are coming, according to Wanda Chevrette, Edmonton Psychologist. Finding small pieces of joy now can help you until they show up. Make a list of the things you love to do, and then engage in them with purpose. Put on your favorite, coziest pajamas and watch a favorite movie. Make a mug of your favorite tea or hot cocoa, and snuggle your pet, or do a favorite craft activity.
Check out the new books, movies or albums at your local library, try a new recipe, or make up a new one. Such as the ultimate chocolate chip cookie, or invent a new cocktail! How about checking out an online exercise class or planning the ultimate summer getaway! Whatever you decide to do, lean into it, enthusiastically, and make the most of the time you can spend snug inside, dreaming of warmer weather and sunshine. Enjoying the moment, and looking forward to the future help keep your mind positive!
Know This Feeling Is Temporary
If you do have the winter blues, and your doctor or Edmonton psychologist has agreed that it’s not Seasonal Affective Disorder or depression, keep in mind that this feeling is temporary. The blues will come and go. Acknowledge your feelings, it’s normal to feel sad, melancholy, or just feel not happy. Check in with yourself – are you dehydrated or hungry? Express your feelings in a journal or express them in another creative outlet.
Think of all the wonderful, uplifting and loving things you would say to a friend who is feeling down. Then say them to yourself. Feeling sad is a natural part of life, and will pass, feeling them, and then releasing the power over you will help you enjoy the happy times when they inevitably come back.
Seek Support, Contact Us!
While it’s normal to feel down, if it is ever overwhelming, or you feel you cannot handle it, you never have to do it on your own, says Edmonton psychologist Wanda Chevrette. Talk to your friends or family, in person, on text or online. But if you feel you can’t talk to friends or family, talk to your doctor, find a psychologist or contact 211 and get mental health support. There is no shame in reaching out, it is a very human need that all of us have. You are not alone, someone is waiting to help you.