A 2022 Guide to Winter Blues

Have you noticed? We’re starting out this winter with some familiar challenges? If you and your kids are feeling kinda down you’re not alone! Short, dark winter days and colder weather can cause a child’s mood and health habits to take a dive. Adults can feel the same way. When you add the fact that everyone is tired of dealing with the ongoing pandemic, you get a lot of parents sending out an S.O.S.

I’m Zulah Talmadge, editor of The Shady Pines Gazette news. All over Shady Pines Story Town we’re hearing about chilldren and their families dealing with this seasonal struggle. 

I’ve gone in search of solutions to the negative effects of winter to offer our parents and caregivers of young kids. I turned to an expert in children’s health, pediatric psychologist Melissa Santos, PhD.    Covid aside, here now are her Top Five Tips To Beating Back The Winter Blues:

1. Eat right.

Make it easy for yourself: Decide on a meal prep day for your family and spend time together trying new recipes and making sure your fridge is ready to make it easy to eat right.

2. Keep moving.

The winter months can make it so hard to get moving, which can take a toll on mood. Take time each day to do something to move your body – start your day with yoga, have a dance party with your family, get out for a hike on the weekends or just use your phone or tracker to get your steps in.

 Related: 23 Indoor Activities for Heart-Healthy Kids

3. Watch your sleep.

Is there anything better than waking up all curled up under the covers on a cold winter morning? It’s so easy to sleep in. But we want to make sure kids aren’t getting too little – or too much – sleep. (Did you know you can get too much? Check out these sleep guidelines.)

Unfortunately, there’s no way to actually “catch up” on sleep. So focus on helping your child fall asleep and wake up at around the same time every day. If they have problems falling asleep, consider an app like Sleep Bug, which has lots of different sound effects to encourage sleep.

> Related: 3 Bedtime Challenges Your Kids Might Be Having Now – and How to Solve Them

4. Get some sunlight.

Humans are basically houseplants with emotions – and they need sun. Getting out in those rare daylight hours is so important to lifting our mood and getting good vitamins!

> Related: More Than the Winter Blues? Kids and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

5. Build in extra mood-boosters.

Since darkness and cold weather can easily impact mood, it’s important to be proactive in wintertime about building mood-boosters into your child’s day. When in doubt, have your child create a “mood jar”: Fill a jar with written reminders of things that always give their mood a lift – an activity, a memory, whatever. Go to the jar when they need a mood boost!

As always, if you’re concerned about your child’s health (or your own), please talk to your doctor. A health professional is there to help.

Thank you Dr. Santos. Here at The Shady Pines Gazette we will continue to bring you and your family news you can use. In the comments below, please let us know if this article helped. Stay safe and be well. ‘Til next time. – Zulah out!