Our Survival Guide to Avoid the Winter Blues as a Parent

Parent looking sadly out of the window, holding a cup of tea

Surviving the winter blues as a parent can be a challenging task, especially when the colder weather and shorter days bring with them a sense of fatigue and low energy.

Lots of people experience seasonal depression to varying degrees, and it can seem overwhelming. And, I don’t know about you, but I always end up entering the new year with a feeling of dread.

This time, I’m aiming to be mindful of everything there is to be grateful about. And there’s plenty. I find getting plenty of fresh air helps, and also simply writing your day down can be a reminder of the good in each day.

If you're feeling down during the winter months as we start 2023, here are some tips for surviving the winter blues as a parent:

Get Outside

Getting out into the fresh air can be especially important during the winter months when shorter days and a lack of sunlight can contribute to feelings of fatigue and low energy. Even on the coldest and darkest days, it's important to make an effort to get outside and soak up some natural light and fresh air.

One way to do this is to take your kids for a walk or a hike. This can be a great way to get some exercise and enjoy the beauty of the outdoors, even in the winter.

During the winter, the short daylight hours mean that there's less natural sunlight throughout the day. But, getting out in direct sunlight, so going outdoors and having a brisk walk can really uplift you.

If the winter weather is being... well, winter weather and isn't suitable for a walk, you can also spend some time playing in the garden. We often put our welly boots on and splash in puddles in the street outside our home.

Exposure to natural light and vitamin D from the sun can help to boost your mood and improve your overall well-being. 

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Stay Active

Exercise is a great way to combat the winter blues and improve your overall mood.

It doesn't have to be a hardcore workout (that certainly isn’t my bag!).  Even a few minutes of stretching or yoga can make a difference and positively affect your mood.

Plus, staying active can help you sleep better, which is another key to fighting off feeling low.

Stay Connected

It's easy to feel isolated during the winter, especially if you're cooped up inside with your kids all day.

Make an effort to reach out to friends and family through video calls if you can. Just chatting with my sister and getting the kids to say hi to each other gives me a boost. 

Take Care of Yourself

Self-care is essential for surviving the winter blues as a parent. Make time for things that bring you joy, whether it's reading a book, watching your favourite TV show, or taking a long bath.

Also, be sure to eat well and get enough sleep. These simple habits can go a long way in helping you feel more energised and positive.

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Practice Gratitude

Parenting can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but it can also be stressful and overwhelming at times. It's natural to feel overwhelmed and stressed out but it can help to try and focus on the positive aspects of having mini humans around.

One way to do this is to practice gratitude.

It can be easy to get caught up in the negative aspects of parenting, such as the lack of sleep, the constant demands, and the financial responsibilities. But by focusing on the things you are grateful for, you can shift your perspective and find joy in everyday moments.

This might mean taking a moment to appreciate your child's smile or the way they hug you when they're upset. I particularly love it when my youngest tells me he loves me this “big”. 

Seek Help if Needed

If you're struggling to cope, don't be afraid to seek help.

There’s nothing wrong with having a chat with your doctor or a mental health professional about your symptoms and options for treatment. And there are so many options for treatment these days, either face-to-face or online. 

I think the main thing that has helped me is to simply remember to be kind to yourself.

Know that it's okay to take a break and prioritise your own well-being. Know that you are enough too - try and get off social media and quit the comparison game. It’s exhausting and never-ending.

The winter months can be tough, but with a little effort and self-care, you can survive and thrive!

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