Every winter, by the end of January/early February the winter blues threaten to set in. Lack of sunshine, frigid weather, feeling cooped up – these all attribute to the blah feelings that seem to come and go sometime between Christmas and Springtime. Here’s what I’ve found through the years to be helpful.
How to Fight Off Winter Blues
Some of what I’m going to share may seem trite, you know, like when I say, “Hey, you should pray about it.” But don’t read this list while thinking “Well yeah, duh, I’ve already tried that.” Read this with an open heart, praying while you read, to see what God might offer you if you also struggle through winter blues. And please leave a comment to add to the list, sharing what has worked for you too!
Note: I feel I should add a disclaimer. Winter blues are nothing like depression. I am not an expert and am not suggesting that those struggling with severe depression simply “drink some water and you’ll be just fine.” Reach out for big help – it is there and God will provide! I’ve been there and have been so grateful for what God has healed (and continues to heal).
Well, since I already mentioned it, how about we start with:
1. Hey, you should pray about it.
What I want to suggest though is that we don’t simply pray, “God, help me get through this winter. Help me get through this day. Help me get through until lunch…”
Those are fine prayers, but here’s what I’ve found to be more effective to help free my mind when the enemy tries to get me down:
- “God, clear my mind of lies and help me to hear your voice of Truth. Help me to believe your Truth and live fully in it.”
- In the name of Jesus, empty me of self-pity, sadness, despair, and discouragement. Fill me instead with your Spirit, and let the fruit of your Spirit pour out. Your joy, your peace, your goodness, your love…”
- “God, help me to see life and people through your eyes today.”
- “Lord God, change me. I need you. I’ve been trying to live through my flesh and it lands me in a place of pain. Work through me so that instead, I will live through your Spirit where there is hope and goodness in abundance!”
- “God, please open my eyes and my heart to all the goodness you are providing today.”
And then breathe deeply and see that He will absolutely answer these prayers in fullness! God always says yes to everything we ask for that is for our spiritual good! He has already fought every battle and won! He will help us to live in this victory!
2. Dig into the Word.
Yep, we already knew this one too. But what if we dug in and read page after page of Scripture as if our life, our health, and our well-being depended on it. Because it does.
Not sure where to start? This can help.
During some of my most difficult days, God’s Word has served to be so much more than a bandaid on my emotional wounds. It holds real answers to real needs in the perfect way that only God can offer.
3. Serve someone.
I have been amazed by how much better my mood can be when I ask God to tell me who I can serve and how I can serve them. He brings someone (or multiple people) to mind and tells me how to reach out. Even something as simple as baking and delivering treats to someone can help me get out of my own head and instead help me to focus outward on others’ needs. Encouraging others, seeing others, loving on others, giving something to others, talking to others, asking about others’ needs – this is an incredible way to take our minds from melancholy to meaningfulness.
P.S. Get your kids involved. ;)
4. Try to get enough sleep.
This is often easier said than done depending on our season of life. But wow do I feel like a different woman (emotionally and physically) if I’ve gotten the rest I need. When I’m tired, I often cry more easily, feel sorry for myself, feel discouraged, can’t think straight, wonder what’s wrong with me…
Then I get a power nap or a better night’s sleep and suddenly I feel so much better overall.
I guess it’s worth it to say this based on what I’ve personally experienced: Maybe we aren’t down or depressed, maybe we’re just tired. If that’s the case, work extra hard to get to bed at a decent time, to let others help you more, and to get as much needed rest as possible.
5. Ask for help.
Please learn to do this. Asking for help has been incredible and necessary for me, and I think it’s necessary for every person, no matter what. We can’t do life alone. We aren’t good at it. It doesn’t work. God created us to need people.
I have to ask for help with my kids, with my housework, with my emotional needs (praise God for my Christian therapist!), with my blog work – everything. It’s amazing to watch God work through others. Ask for help. You will be so glad you did!
(This is Justus and his girlfriend Kelsey in a pile-up on our floor with our 7-year old and 5-year old. These darlings and many other college students and friends are on call to come help when and if they are available. I’m so very thankful!)
6. Eat your vegetables. Drink your water.
Man, in the wintertime those cookies just seem so much more appealing. But sugar can really kick in the winter blues, so be sure you’re focused on nourishing food that keeps your heart and mind happy instead of sad and sluggish.
Don’t forget: Spring’s a comin’! Look for the beauty in every day. Let’s not get stuck thinking that we’ll feel like this forever. And again, if you’re experiencing more than winter blues, reach out for deeper help.
It’s time to tell the enemy to get out and then ask God to fill our minds with His joy and peace! Winter doesn’t win, and the enemy certainly doesn’t! Nope. No way. Not today Satan. (Or tomorrow. So there.)
Breathe deeply of God’s goodness and let Him walk you through each day. That sun is going to shine soon and boy are we going to ENJOY EVERY MINUTE!!!