How To Overcome the Winter Blues...for Parents and the Rest of Us, Too

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I just looked at the weather forecast for the week. Four out of seven days said "snow". Four days! When I am housebound for too long, I get crabby, cranky and sad. Honestly, with prolonged bad weather I am not my favorite kind of Mom. But who is a perfect Mom or Dad when the winter blues have settled in? Here are a few simple things that friends have reminded me of lately, that really do help when you're stuck in a terrible, wintry, mood.

1. Smile. Smiling at our kids when we feel like frowning, really does make a difference for them. They perform better. They like us more. And when that happens, it's a happier home for everyone. If smiling all day seems weird and fake, start at the dinner table, and at the change table. Let smiling grow naturally from there.

2. Look outside at the sky. Even when it's miserable outside, spend time meditating by the window. Look at the bigness of the sky and think outside of the space and present issues of your house. (Both points 1 and 2 are coming from this blog post, a religious blog, but I don't think you necessarily need to be religious to agree that smiling and looking at the sky are great places to start.)

3. Remember, you can still go outside. Even though it is cold. Even though it might be snowing. If the kids aren't up for it, at least take a short walk alone once your spouse is home from work. Fresh air will do you a world of good.

4. If nothing is helping, go and see someone. Talk to a friend. See a doctor. It might be as simple as taking Vitamin D. But if you are feeling hopeless, anxious, depressed, have little energy, don't want to see people, are oversleeping, and are gaining weight you may have Seasonal Affective Disorder. It can be easily treated with light therapy and a management plan.

Are those winter blues getting you down? What's your strategy for handling them? Share them with other parents below!

(Image credits: Andrea Sparacio)

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