I don’t know about you but I always get a little down in the dumps when the holiday season ends. I think we all feel let down. The build up of Christmas, the stress of preparing, the actual big event and then…just like that it’s over. The beautifully decorated trees and the soft, warm glow of the lights all disappear and your world turns into this icy cold, bleak white isolated mess. With the record breaking wind chills we’ve had since December it’s left many of us home bound. For some this is an okay situation, however, for me it’s the perfect setting for a fall back into depression . I hate the cold weather and because of that I have no desire to get out of the house and interact with real life human beings. This is not a happy existence and like I said, it just starts the downward spiral that I can fall into.
How do you survive the long winter months when all you can see is winter?
1. If you’re a stay-at-home mom who’s prone to staying home, plan activities that force you out of the house. When the weather’s nasty and cold outside the task of getting kids out the door can be enough to make you want to just camp out like a mother bear in her winter den. I’ve found though, that the longer I stay in my house, the more depressed I become. Recently, I’ve started to fill my week up so that I am getting out of the house at least four out of the five week days. My son has preschool three days of the week and I’ve signed him up for swimming lessons one day of the week. What better time to sit on a humid pool deck than the dead of winter?
2. Plan outings that take you away from the weather. When I was a first time mom five years ago, I lived the first four months of my son’s life under the cloud of postpartum depression. It was miserable; plus, it was the middle of winter so easily being able to get out of the house was more difficult than ever. My mom came up to visit me and wanting to get me out of the house she took me to the tropics. Well, not the real tropics. We visited Bachmann’s Flagship Store & Corporate Office where we soaked in the warmth from the green house, breathed in the warm humid air, and ate lunch at Patrick’s Cafe. It was lovely and for the time that we were surrounded by flowers, I almost forgot how cold it was outside.
Another great place to visit and pretend that the weather outside isn’t frightful is the Como Park Zoo & Conservatory. Walk around the Conservatory and take in the fragrant flower smells. Visit the Zoo where they have story time every day at noon in the Visitor’s Center. And of course, for an even bigger zoo experience spend the day at Minnesota Zoo. I like to go places where the scenery is fresh, vibrant and feels alive.
3. Plan a date with a girlfriend at least twice a month. There is something that you just cannot get from anyone other than a girlfriend; an empathetic ear during a difficult time, someone to laugh with you over the recent potty training mess you had to clean up, another mom who knows precisely what you’re feeling. Quality time with the girls is something that every mom needs whether she stays at home or works outside of the home. Make it a priority to get out and enjoy your friends. Check out our Events page for opportunities for you to get out of the house and get some much deserved “me” time with the girls!
4. Exercise; it gives you endorphins. Have a dance party in your living room with the kiddos or decide to join a gym where you can take classes from an instructor, whatever you decide to do be active. Every time I exercise my mood is lifted, my patience is better and that white stuff that’s encompassed the outdoors doesn’t bother me that much.
5. Understand what depression is and if you think you may be struggling reach out to a professional. Like I said earlier, I was diagnosed with postpartum depression when my son was four months old. I haven’t “grown” out of it and I sometimes wonder if I’ve been depressed my entire life without knowing it. The past is the past and I can’t change it. What I can do is encourage you to seek out help if you feel as if you’re slipping away from yourself and the people you love. Maybe you used to love an organized house and now you just don’t care? Maybe you enjoyed being social with your friends and now you just want to keep to yourself? These are only a few of the symptoms that I experienced before I was diagnosed.
If something in your life feels off, talk with someone about it. If you are feeling ashamed about how you’re feeling or feel like there’s no one you can talk to, please call the NDMDA Depression Hotline (800-826-3632). Remember, if you do see a therapist and you aren’t clicking with him or her, seek out references from others you know who have depression. Sometimes it takes a few sessions with a few different therapists to find the right one but it’s worth it in the end. Trust me.
As a Minnesota transplant, I know the winter’s can be incredibly difficult on you; being a mom amplifies everything by ten. These are just a few things that have helped me get over the winter blues.
What’s your favorite way to escape the icy cold winter?