Winter and Stress
The Brain's Reaction to Stress
Surviving Cold Weather
Lack of Sun Light
Some people get really down during the winter months especially if there is snow or other precipitation because of the lack of sun light that they are exposed to. Also, there are the holidays and the illusion that everyone else is having a great time when they are not accompanied by getting together with family and spending lots of money which can add to peoples' stress load. For some, the holidays are very hard to get through. Then, the months of January through March come and all the adrenaline and excitement over Christmas and New Years goes away and their mood just gets really down in the dumps. For some people they are diagnosed with "seasonal affective disorder" which means they actually get clinically depressed. For others the mood just goes down and it is not as severe a change. It really just depends on the individual.
Being Outside in Cold Weather
Working out in Winter
Getting exercise has always benefited anxiety and depression. It releases endorphines and increases serotonin and dopamine in the brain. People who exercise on a regular basis are usually both physically and mentally healthier than those who do not. Even if it is just a short walk in the snow it is better than just sitting on the couch or at the computer for eight hours at work. Plus, if you ski or do something outside like build a snow man you are exposing yourself to sunlight. That is what your body is lacking and a great part of the reason that people get down during the winter months.
Beauty in the Cold
An intricately white, woven, spiderweb of lace
Is falling from the sky dancing with God's grace.
It is carried by the wind until it reaches where it lands.
It is a perfect breath of life made of nature's demands.
Circular, white, crystal like falling snow
Surround me during Winter wherever I may go.
In the absence of heat if forms and falls.
Slowly it comes where the cold resides and crawls.
It is a perfect creation falling on the window sill.
It is a breath of God's creation and his will.
It dances and falls in the wind with time.
In the cold of Winter is when the snowflake's beauty has its prime."----Megan Fricke
Spiritual Life in Winter
Keeping up with a spiritual life can be highly beneficial during any stressful time. Going to church and praying not only lifts your concerns up to God but it takes your mind off any problems you have and redirects your attention to God. Also, it is a way of spending time alone and a form of meditation. It is a way of focusing your thoughts on what is important and what is not. As well, you may get insight into your life and other peoples' as well. Even if you are not religious or do not associate yourself with any religion, meditation can be a very useful tool in just reflecting on life and thinking about your circumstances, past, present, and future.
The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy
is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet,
alone with the heavens, nature and God.
Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be.— Anne Frank
Medical Massage Therapy
You have to do something nice for yourself sometimes. Medical massage therapy has proven to improve serotonin, dopamine, aid in relaxation, and relieve muscle tension among other health benefits. If you are feeling stressed it may be time to schedule a massage with a licensed massage therapist. Also, taking a hot bath can be really beneficial with relaxation and aiding in good mental health because it also improves sleep. It is good to be around friends who support you if you are down even if it just a text message that you are sending. Yoga helps in stress management. Hot yoga is known to be highly beneficial in helping people relax by decreasing cortisol levels. Yoga can be used as a forms of meditation. It is good to nurture yourself during the winter months.
Books and Literature
Escaping Through Literature
If anything, sometimes settling down with a good book can help you escape and get your mind off whatever is bothering you. It also makes you think. If you are reading about historical fantasy and how people handled their problems in the past or poetry about our present times, it will make you think and get you to sort things out in your head. The poem about the snowflake is one of several poems about Winter in the book God Willing and the Creek Don't Rise by Megan Fricke. She also published a historical fantasy book called Spellbound. If you are looking for a good read which can aid in stress reduction please consider these two books.
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