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Getting Over the February Blues

Getting Over the February Blues

getting over the February blues

Getting Over The February Blues

Getting Over The February Blues

Getting Over The February Blues

Is anyone else struggling this month?  I'm honestly finding it very challenging to stay motivated, stay on top of everything, and not to feel blah.  I feel like I'm drowning in a hardcore case of the February Blues.  And so I'm writing this article in the hopes of exploring ways to help me get out of this "funk", hopefully help anyone else feeling this way, and to see if any has any other suggestions of what is working for them.

So first of all, I live in Canada.  February in Canada sucks.  It is really cold, snowy, most days are overcast and grey.  On top of that we are still dealing with COVID, and have many restrictions in place still in Ontario.  We just got out of another lockdown and the kids are getting back to school and activities and my schedule is once again bonkers with a mix of work, kids, personal appointments, meetings etc.  Many mornings we leave the house at 8am and don't return until 8 or 9pm that night.  So I'm probably in a space where I've just overwhelmed, anyone else feeling this way?

Here are some tips I have researched and plan to try on ways to get over the February Blues

  1.  Take Extra Vitamin D

Vitamin D is one of many vitamins our bodies need to stay healthy. ... You need vitamin D so that calcium and phosphorus can be used to build bones. In adults, having soft bones is a condition called osteomalacia. Absorbing calcium: Vitamin D, along with calcium, helps build bones and keep bones strong and healthy. - ClevelandClinic.org

Vitamin D may regulate mood and reduce depression. Research has shown that vitamin D might play an important role in regulating mood and decreasing the risk of depression. A review of 7,534 people found that those experiencing negative emotions who received vitamin D supplements noticed an improvement in symptoms. - Healthline.com

In Canada in the Winter most of us do not spend as much time outside, the days are shorter, and many days are overcast.  I was told a few years ago I was deficient in Vitamin D and B so I take those regularly, but in the Winter I take extra Vitamin D.  I actually ran out of Vitamin D about a week ago, didn't take it for a few days and noticed a HUGE decrease in my mood.  Obviously get medical advise on this topic, and there are natural sources of getting Vitamin D, I'm just sharing that for me I know my body needs this to help improve my mood.

2. Be Gentle With Yourself

This is one of the hardest things for me.  I am very critical of myself.  I set high expectations and when I can't keep up, I get very disappointed with myself.  It is important for me to recognize when I've taken on perhaps a bit too much, and allow myself the time to practice self care.    It is important to be gentle on yourself and realize you are doing the best you can with what you have and know today.  Celebrate your wins, no matter how small.  Keep a gratitude list, and write down at least 3 things you are grateful for each morning.

I'm trying to do my best and remind myself it is okay if I don't get everything done.   And it is okay to ask for help.  

3. Get Moving

Biggest hurdle for me by far.  When I'm feeling down and a little blue, I am completely unmotivated to do any exercise.  So this month I set a goal for myself to stretch everyday.  I actually do this at night while we are watching our favourite show.  I get down on the floor in front of the TV and do lots of stretches.  My next goal is to get walking and I hope to work towards that in March when the weather starts to warm up. I know that when I am active and walking and stretching this helps my mood.  It is especially true when I walk in nature.  

4.  Journal and Meditate

I know this might not be for everyone, but for me this is a habit in self care that I know works to help me feel better and stronger emotionally.  Raised in an alcoholic home, and then struggling with addiction myself I was never in touch with my true feelings.  Now I find it incredibly valuable to have healthy ways to acknowledge my feelings and get them out - instead of shoving them down.  Journalling daily allows me to get my feelings & emotions out and onto paper.

Mediation is something I find helps me feel lighter, happier, and more in touch with the world around me.  I honestly find this very difficult to do on my own, so I always use guided meditation - Youtube has a ton of guided mediation videos - just look for the ones that say "no ads".  I love the Deepak Chopra 21 day meditation series on Abundance.  

5.  Watch What You Eat

I am so guilty of emotional eating.  Sugar, fat, salt, chips, caffeine.  All of the things I know I shouldn't be eating or drinking when I'm already feeling BLAH but I do anyways.  I had a therapist once tell me "Food = Mood" and I find this to be true.  I also find it hard to stick to a healthy diet when I'm not feeling great about myself anyways.  I feel like making small changes works better for me.  So this week I have started replacing sugar in my coffee with stevia.  One small change, I don't really know the difference and I'm doing something for myself.  WebMD suggestion the following foods may help fight depression:

  • Protein - fatty fish, nuts, beans, lean meat
  • Dairy - reduced fat yogurt, milk, cheese
  • Leafy Greens - spinach, bok choy, kale
  • Whole Grains - Bulgur, millet, quinoa, brown rice

Other research suggested:

  • Green tea
  • Bananas
  • Blueberries
  • Oranges
  • Dark chocolate
  • Ginger
  • Coconut Oil

I am really looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the February blahs, and wondering what other suggestions you have to help lift up mood in the dreary winter months?  Please comment below!

And finally here are a few funny winter memes to brighten your day!

Winter funny meme
winter funny meme
winter funny meme

12 Responses

  1. Eleanor says:

    Great post! I know winter can be a struggle for some people- and I find it hard when I’m desperate for spring and summer 🙂 fantastic post, thanks for sharing Sarah x

    • sarahclarke says:

      Thank you I appreciate your comment, and I just can’t wait for spring.

  2. I am having a chocolate free month. I totally get where you are coming from with this. Great points!

  3. Stephanie says:

    So, I’ve always been a bit sad that people experience such melancholy during February, because it’s my birthday month and I’ve always loved it (not just because of my birthday, but because I adore winter). However, I can understand why it’s not always the most enjoyable month – and so your tips are super helpful for those experiencing the blues, and for those who just want to bring a little extra goodness into their lives. Great article here!

    • sarahclarke says:

      Thanks Stephanie, appreciate the feedback, and wishing you a very special & happy birthday!

  4. KEVIN FOODIE says:

    “Die Winter Die” is hilarious. I guess that’s everyone’s cry who live in Canada and US. Winter blues or SAD is a real thing. You shared some really great tips. Sun light is a great mood booster. This is one of the reasons why people in the Caribbean are so happy.

  5. That’s awesome, I will work out more this month to avoid it. I can feel the blues sometimes. I will follow these… Thank you for sharing!

    • sarahclarke says:

      Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, exercise sounds like a very sensible way to fight off seasonal blues or depression! Wish I could find the motivation

  6. Giulia says:

    I’m in Ontario too, and I feel like I ought give up on everything lately. The only thing keeping me more upbeat is the fact that I’m on mat leave so I don’t have to face the whole work days and of course, my baby. But trying to write or find the motivation to do chores is a lot harder than playing with my baby so it’s been blah for sure.

    • sarahclarke says:

      Congratulations on your baby that is such a precious time! Just a few more weeks and hopefully we will be able to get outside more without our boogers freezing!

  7. Ooh fab tips here! Like you, I’ve always been really hard on myself, and I think reminding ourselves to take it easy and be a little gentler is super important. I love journaling too, it can always turn my mood around! Thanks for sharing x

    • sarahclarke says:

      Thank you, yes journaling usually helps my mood too.

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