As 2020 comes to a close and winter sets in, it is more important than ever to protect our mental health. As cheery as the holiday season can be, winter is also long and dark which, paired with the current circumstances of the world, can cause a lot of people to fall into a slump. Experiencing seasonal depression in the winter is very common, but, luckily, there are many ways to prevent and relieve it.

One very popular and effective way to prevent seasonal depression is by practicing hygge- embracing coziness and comfort to engender contentment and well-being. This lifestyle has been adopted by countless people and has become a focus for many during the holiday season. As the holidays become hectic, it is important to take time for yourself to focus on the small daily pleasures. Embracing the coziness of winter by curling up in a blanket by the fire, wearing fuzzy socks, making yourself a nice cup of hot chocolate, or watching a movie with your loved ones can influence your happiness tremendously.

Another great way to promote winter wellness is by finding and participating in winter activities that you enjoy. Participating in snow sports like skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing is an amazing way to maintain your well-being both physically and mentally. Other excursions and activities such as going to see the Christmas lights, sledding, ice skating, and snowman-building are also good for your health because they take you outside and allow you to have fun.

There are also countless other really simple ways to boost your mood this winter. Some examples are making your bed, opening the blinds, exercising, writing letters and giving gifts to people, limiting screen time, getting dressed and ready each day, intellectually stimulating yourself by reading books and listening to podcasts, eating healthily, and drinking lots of water. All of these things do not take much time at all and can be done easily (even in a pandemic), and will have a monumental impact 0n your mental health this season.

This year has undoubtedly taken a toll on our emotional well-being, which is why it is so important that it becomes a focus of our attention this winter. If we devote more of our time and energy into protecting our mental health, this holiday season and the new year will be a happy time for all of us!

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