This week marked the start of winter here in the northern hemisphere, and I am really feeling those shorter days. As I write this, there’s a new “energy lamp” on the desk beside me. I’ve used light therapy in the past to help myself feel better when natural light is low, and I’m excited to reintroduce this into my routine. It’s been one of my most effective winter wellness tools in the past.
This week, I got a lot of new ideas for winter wellness tools from our “community crowdsourcing” on Facebook. We asked you to share some of your favorite tips, tricks, and tools for staying well through the holidays and in the wintertime, and the response was great! Thanks to all of you who weighed in so far on the original post and on the shares of that post. Here are some of the highlights:
- Dawn says, “I frequently ‘check in’ with myself. I rely heavily on my WRAP plan. I love music, so going to concerts and listening to my favorite music is helpful. I also exercise. The natural endorphins are a great antidepressant. I also rely on my supporters. I let them know when I am in ‘bad space.’”
- Katherine says, “Mediation and going for walks. Ensuring that I get some alone time to recharge even if it means getting up earlier to just listen to the silence. I also remember my parents and other loved ones lost and the joyous times we had celebrating the season.”
- Melissa says, “Remembering that life goes on even though we are grieving the loss of several family members, one of whom we were very close. She was one of my major support people, besides my mother and a few cousins. My other support person passed away on Christmas Eve a few years ago. Yes, it’s hard to celebrate the holidays after your loved ones pass away. But I think they would want us to celebrate and remember all the good times you had with them.”
- Heather says, “Vitamin D and salt lamp, for starters.”
- Kathryn says, “Definitely continue to take vitamin D and magnesium. Get sunlight when possible, and getting some big muscle movement exercise helps me.”
- Katy says, “Walk the dogs 2–3 times per day, even when it’s cold as hell and sleeting—it feels so exciting when you get back indoors! Make up songs about the most horrible dog walks. … Snuggle with my honey.”
- Keri says, “Essential oils and salt lamps.”
- Tifani says, “My friend, Janelle, reminds me to get my ‘green hour’—outside, no devices, no excuses. When I’m feeling stressed out or depression tugging at my sleeve, she will ask me when the last time I went outside was (this buddy system helps, too). Obviously, so many of the above suggestions: mindful nutrition, herbs, and uplifting essential oils (bergamot!!!), regular exercise…”
- Lori says, “Hand washing, hand washing, and more hand washing. Also, staying properly nourished and hydrated.”
- Tammy says, “Continue with daily exercise no matter what! Essential oils are a must as well as clean eating, as much as possible.”
- Raymond says, “Go to the gym and work out. And enjoy the hot tub and sauna.”
Lots of common themes here: exercise, nutrition, and essential oils came up multiple times. I was pleasantly surprised to learn I’m not the only one who loves my salt lamp, too! (Himalayan salt lamps are not for light therapy but are super cool—if you’re not familiar with them, there’s good info online.) The ideas of checking in with yourself, connecting with supporters, and celebrating happy memories really resonated with me as well. We’ll explore some of these wellness tools further after the holidays. Please keep sharing ideas on Facebook—we love hearing how you’re taking care of your wellness.
The newsletter is taking a break until after the first of the year, but we’ll still be sharing info and ideas over on our Mental Health Recovery & WRAP Facebook page. If you haven’t already liked our page for updates, please do!
We’ll see you in 2017.
Kristen King leads digital strategy at Advocates for Human Potential. She’s been using WRAP since 2010 and was certified as a WRAP Co-Facilitator in 2011. She is also a certified life coach. Kristen lives in Colorado, USA.