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How to Combat Depression During Extremely Cold Weather

By: Carlee

As the polar vortex has swept in and created some -50° to -60° windchills, it has pretty much shut down our entire state. This kind of weather can make us feel trapped in our homes with nothing to do. We also aren’t able to go outside and breathe the fresh air and feel the sunshine which is known to increase levels of Vitamin D, increase physical activities, increase socialization, and overall increase our feelings of happiness. It is estimated that about 10 million Americans are affected by seasonal affective disorder, or seasonal depression. With all of the limitations we have been facing with the extreme cold weather, the symptoms of seasonal depression may increase. So, what are some things that we can do to combat this depression and increase our self-care?

Here are just a few suggestions to combat depression during the polar vortex:

1. Try out yoga

  • Yoga is a great practice to help increase mindfulness and increase the oxygen flow within your body. The practice of being present has many benefits to it including more appreciation for yourself, stress relief, and openness. Even if you have never tried yoga before, there are many great yoga videos online for all skill types. A great place to start is on the Yoga with Adriene Youtube Channel. Her channel is great for beginners!

2. Open that book you’ve been meaning to read

  • Now is a perfect time to grab a cup of coffee (or maybe tea), curl up in your favorite blanket, and start reading a new book. There are so many benefits to reading including stress reduction (some studies estimate by 68%), memory improvement, anxiety alleviation, and much more.

3. Bake cookies

  • If you like to bake, maybe it is time to try out a new recipe. You could share your treats with your family, or maybe share your treats with your co-workers when you finally get back to work!

4. Make sure your getting good rest

  • We live in a nonstop world where we are constantly trying to keep up with our work/to-do lists. This is a perfect time to head to bed a little bit early and replenish your body of it’s much deserved sleep. It is recommended that adults get 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night, however, studies show that 40% of Americans get less than 6 hours of sleep. Take time to appreciate your body and everything it allows you to do!

5. Do some redecorating or tackle some overdue cleaning

  • It might be time to do a little redecorating to change the mood of your home! Maybe this is just adding some candles to the room, or maybe this means rearranging your furniture. Whatever feels good to you. Also, if you have been meaning to clean out a room but haven’t found much time, use your time at home to check off that task from your to-do list!

6. Write in a journal about how you’re feeling

  • Journals are such a great way to reflect your feelings and monitor your self-growth. If you are feeling down today, write it down and make it visual. Maybe you will write down what is overwhelming you currently in life. Are there any current troubles that you are facing that you can step away from, or ask for help? Also, reflect on what you appreciate or find fulfilling in life. You could do this by writing three things you love about yourself, writing down all of the things that have went well this year, or write down just one thing you appreciate about today.

7. Craft with your family

  • If you have other family members in your house, especially children, maybe today is a good day to do some bonding by doing a craft. You’ll be able to make your own unique creation while sharing laughs and smiles with the rest of the family! Even if you do not consider yourself an “artist,” challenge yourself and see what you can create! is always a great website to check out when you are looking for ideas.

8. Do a puzzle

  • If you have an old puzzle sitting in your closet from years ago, break it out and try it! Jigsaw puzzles have many benefits for adults, like increasing our concentration, expanding our creativity, lowering our blood pressure, and increasing our calmness or peace in the mind.

9. Cook a healthy meal

  • It is so important to eat well to keep your body and mind healthy. In our busy lives, it is easy to skimp on healthy meals, since they usually take longer to make. This is a great time to look up some healthy recipes online and make a new, delicious, and healthy meal for dinner.

10. Catch up with the people you love

  • Maybe today is the day to call up your parents, grandparents, children, best friends, or others who are important in your life. Sometimes it is hard to stay in touch with those who you love. Have a good conversation with them, and most importantly, remind them how much you love them!

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