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Winter Blues: Stuck in the post-holiday doldrums?

After all the holiday celebrations, Christmas family visits, and Spring Festival travel, you may feel a bit down returning to your routine in Shanghai. The winter weather doesn’t help. Many people feel more lethargic and moody during the cold, dreary weather. Some people face more serious seasonal depression. What can you do to deal with winter blues?

• If you are feeling sad or grieving, take time to legitimize your pain and acknowledge the emotion. Ignoring it won’t help. On the other hand, don’t identify with the situation or let it define you (or the time of year, such as the anniversary of a loved one’s death). Acknowledge and memorialize your losses in order to move forward. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by these feelings, seek professional help.

• Exercise regularly. The endorphins you generate are powerful for combatting seasonal depression. This is especially effective if you can exercise outside in daylight. Bundle up and take a quick stroll outside after lunch.

• Organize a regular activity that gives you pleasure. Schedule it, even if it is only one hour/week. It’s important to have activities in your life (beyond work) that give you purpose. Get involved in the community, volunteer, take (or teach) a class, join a group...

• Have a daily ritual that sets a positive tone. It might be reading a small passage/devotional, saying positive affirmations, using a meditation app, listening to music, or sitting quietly with a morning coffee enjoying your view.

• Know yourself. For example, if you aren’t a morning person don’t expect yourself to become one. Maybe you can modify your routine to better accommodate what works for you. Empower yourself to say no (such as when you’re feeling overscheduled or know you won’t enjoy getting up for a 6 AM exercise class).

• On the other hand, push yourself to say yes when you need to. Staying active can help combat the blues when the tendency might be to hole up inside alone.

• Use guided meditation or sounds to “put yourself someplace warmer”. Listen to ocean/nature sounds or imagine yourself at the beach or feeling the warm sun on your body. Sound healing with Tibetan Singing Bowls (now offered at Body & Soul) can also help you relax and reconnect with yourself.

• Surround yourself with positive people.

• Change what you can; accept what you cannot. For example, if you have to get up to commute for work every day at 5 AM you only make it worse by waking up angry and complaining every day. You’ll waste your energy fighting the inevitable. If it really makes you unhappy, spend the energy trying to find a solution (like a modified schedule, closer workplace, or… a new job!).

If you are struggling with depression or grief, contact Body & Soul to talk with one of our psychologists. We have a team of experienced therapists who integrate various therapies (including cognitive behavioral therapy, family tree therapy, relaxation techniques, etc.) and can help you cope with these feelings. Alternative techniques such as Sound Healing and Lama Fera can also help you regain peace of mind as they release stress and mental tensions and ease depression. Get in touch with us for more information!

Bibiana Rueda-Bueno
Bibiana Bueno
Holistic Psychologist

Bibiana is a holistic psychologist who combines clinical psychology, psycho genealogy (family tree) and alternative techniques such as chakras harmonization, energy healing and cleansing to treat her patients.