The Best Self Care to Help You Fight Off Winter Blues

Three top ways to practice self care to fight off winter blues. #selfcare #winterblues

Thanks for joining me for the third post in this winter blues series. We have covered light therapy and eating right, and today we’ll talk about three key areas of self care for battling seasonal affective disorder.

Even though I’ve struggled with winter blues for decades, I’ve only recently discovered the importance of three different areas for helping me beat these winter blues. The blues have really descended upon me this year, and I’m fighting back hard (and seeing good results) with these three methods.

The Value of Christian Meditation

This summer I was hired to write material for a Christian meditation app. The hours of research taught me the calming and healing principles of meditation. I’ve been practicing it ever since by choosing a verse from my One Year Bible reading every day, and it’s helped me handle my winter blues better than before. I’m incorporating principles of Christian meditation in the book I’m currently writing…stay tuned for details in coming weeks!

Here are several benefits that Christian meditation provides:

Spiritual Benefits

Spending regular time meditating on God’s Word will help you feel closer to God, which is especially important when you’re fighting the winter blues. As you develop a habit of meditation, you will learn to recognize the voice of the Holy Spirit not just in your meditation times, but in the rest of your day too. Your faith will grow as you see God leading you along a healthier life path, out of the darkness and into the light.

You, Lord, are my lamp;
    the Lord turns my darkness into light.

2 Samuel 22:29 NIV

Mental Benefits

Meditation improves both your ability to concentrate and store memories. As you reflect upon scripture and repeat key phrases, God’s Word is stored deeper in your mental recesses. You will be able to bring it up from your internal storehouse with ease, once you deeply process the meaning of the scriptures.

Another benefit is an increased knowledge of God’s Word. Knowing the hope, joy, and peace that God promises can sustain you when you feel the winter blues creeping on. You can instantly bring up a treasured verse from your mental storehouse for a happy reminder on a difficult day.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Matthew 6:21 NIV
Practical ways to overcome winter blues. #winter #depression

Physical Benefits

Studies show that regular meditation has powerful physical benefits. Meditation can lower your blood pressure to the degree that you may no longer need medication to control blood pressure. It reduces your stress levels, because it gives you a strategy for handling problems. For example, if you meditate on verses regarding anxiety, you will be able to apply God’s Word in anxious situations and not feel as anxious as before. When your body is not under stress, your immune system can function more efficiently. Seasonal affective disorder can affect your anxiety level and take a toll on your immune system. You can fight back with Christian meditation.

Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.

2 Corinthians 7:1 NIV

How Christian meditation helps you fight off winter blues. #selfcare Click To Tweet

Personal Benefits

When you dwell on verses that speak about God’s love and kindness toward you, you may see yourself in a new, positive light. The winter blues can take a toll on your self-esteem, as depression hangs over you like a cloud and the accuser has a field day with your spirit. Choose meditation verses that focus on your worth in God, and experience positive self-worth in your Christian identity.

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 

1 John 3:1 NIV

Interpersonal Benefits

Do you struggle to be a loving person when you have the winter blues? Meditate on verses about showing love, kindness, and forgiveness to others, and your heart will be transformed. God’s Word has the power to transform you into a self-controlled person, even when you are struggling with seasonal depression. Once you hide God’s Word in your heart through meditation, your relationships will improve and the Holy Spirit will empower you!

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

Acts 1:8 NIV

Are you ready to try Christian meditation? Here’s a quick and easy way to get started:

  1. Select one of the verses above and have it ready on a card or paper (or in your Bible).
  2. Find a quiet place.
  3. Begin with prayer. Ask God to help you focus and enlighten your mind with his truth.
  4. Say the verse several times, aloud or in your mind. Focus on the individual word meanings. Try emphasizing different words to absorb the meaning.
  5. Ask yourself, “What does God want me to learn from this verse? How can I apply it to my current situation?”
  6. Repeat the verse in full before ending your meditation time.
  7. End with a prayer of thanksgiving and praise.

Practical ways to fight off winter blues. #winter #depression

The Benefits of Exercise

I have a confession to make: Exercise has not been a best friend of mine. I was good at everything else in school except for P.E., and the other kids let me know it. They ALWAYS picked me last for kickball at recess, and I was regularly laughed at when I did jumping jacks in gym class. The mean sneers still echo through my head from the times when I had to lead the laps around the gym…“Can’t you run any faster?” Exercise has long been a source of shame that I’ve hid from the world’s eyes.

That’s why I found comfort in Holley Gerth’s recent post. She said she still runs, even though she’s not a graceful runner. I like the cheeky bumper stickers that say 0.0, as in, I’ve run 0.0 miles of a 5K or 10K. That will always be me, but I’m learning to make peace with exercise anyway.

How exercise helps you fight off winter blues. #selfcare Click To Tweet

When I exercise during the winter (indoors on my treadmill), I truly feel better. The endorphins start flowing, and they wash away my blue feelings. Research is showing that exercise boosts brain activity, which is important for people suffering from seasonal affective disorder.

I like to use the Kindle app on my mini IPad so I can read while I’m on the treadmill, because then I don’t feel like I’m exercising. This Christmas I got a Fitbit Alta, which reminds me to get up and move every hour. I jog around the hallways in my home and do one plank, which adds up over time and gives me boosts of energy throughout the day. Even though I’m not a natural athlete, a little concentrated movement helps me chase away those winter blues like nothing else can. 

The Preciousness of Good Sleep

When I get the winter blues, I often struggle with either sleeping too much or insomnia. These are common problems for people with depression. I’m taking measures to improve my nighttime sleep to feel more relaxed, focused, and rested during the day.

Here are my tips for better sleep:

  1. Use meditation to improve sleep. I try to meditate on Bible verses or Bible stories when I’m falling asleep, and if I happen to wake up in the night, it’s the perfect time for Christian meditation. Focusing on God’s Word helps me get to sleep faster, and I sleep more peacefully too.
  2. Essential oils can work wonders. I have a local friend who makes high quality, pure soy candles with lavender oil that she harvests from lavender grown on her farm. Every night, I take the lid off the candle that sits right beside my head on my nightstand. I literally sleep better when Pam’s candle is right beside me because I’m breathing in that peaceful scent all night. Sometimes I also sleep with a mask on, and I put a drop or two of lavender oil on the mask. It whisks me away to Super Sleep Land, and I’m so grateful for this healthy and effective solution. You can also try eucalyptus oil if you prefer a different calming scent.
  3. Count this instead of sheep. Hop over to this post to discover what I count instead of sheep…and it works Every. Single. Time.
How to get better sleep to lift your winter blues. #selfcare #winterblues Click To Tweet

3 top self-care tips for fighting winter blues. #selfcare #winterblues

Additional Resources

My blogging friend Melanie Redd has an excellent series on health right now, and I encourage you to check it out!

Don’t forget to check out my other posts on which recipes I use to fight off winter blues and how I use light to fight seasonal affective disorder.

I’m hosting a signed book giveaway this week on my other post…check it out here.

Friend, if you’re struggling with the winter blues, I hope this post has boosted your mood. I’d love to hear from you in the comment section below. Join me next Thursday for the final post in the series for more ways to fight off winter blues. Here’s a prayer to encourage you today:

Lord in Heaven, I need you to help me care for myself when I’m feeling the winter blues. I am tempted to slow down, bundle in, and shut out what’s good for me. Lead me to the verses you want me to focus for encouragement and growth. Help me get moving so I can boost my body’s healing rhythms. Give me peaceful rest so I can face the day with renewed strength. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Questions for you:

Which one of these self-care methods appeals the most to you?

What new thing did you learn about Christian meditation in this post?

What can you do for better sleep tonight?

If you liked this post, I would appreciate your shares on social media!

This post may be linked up at #sundaythoughts, #inspirememonday#momentsofhope, #dreamtogether, #glimpsesofhisbeauty, #lmmlinkup, #gritup#teaandwordtuesday, #raralinkup, #tellhisstory, #coffeeforyourheart,  #sittingamongfriends, #writerwednesday#encouragingwordwednesday, #porchstories, #heartencouragement, #chasingcommunity, #tuneinthursday, #gracemoments, #saltandlight, #betheeinspired,  #dancewithjesus, #faithnfriends, #freshmarketfriday, #graceandtruth, and #faithonfire. I love the blogging community and consider these hosts my friends–please visit their sites and encourage them too!

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39 thoughts on “The Best Self Care to Help You Fight Off Winter Blues

  1. Thanks for the tips! Meditation does indeed help with memorization. What better truth to meditate on than the truth of the Word of God. Have a great day!

    1. Thanks Kelly! I had to memorize hundreds of verses as a Lutheran school girl. But they come back so easily to me now, and I’m thankful I had God’s word hidden in my heart way back when. Blessings to you!

  2. I love essential oils. How sweet of your friend to make that candle for you. I put a mix of different things like lavender, cedarwood, vetiver and a blend called “peace and calming” in my son’s diffuser each night. (I put others in there sometimes too, but those are the mainstays of the nighttime routine.) I’ve started putting cedarwood in our bedroom diffuser at night sometimes now too, and that works well for sleep. — I’m slowly learning the art of meditation. My mind wanders, and I need to often refocus it back on the stillness. (A verse would be a good idea for that…good idea. Easier to focus on a verse than on stillness.) 🙂 — Glad to know your methods are proving successful for you this winter. ((hug))

    1. I’m glad you shared your oil mixtures. I have a diffuser I haven’t put to use yet, and you’ve inspired me! Yes, I totally understand that a verse is better for focus than simply stillness, but of course, they go together. Hugs to you too!

  3. Sarah–winter is always hard on me! Vitamin D supplements, essential oils, candles, meditating on God’s Word, worship music, and exercise all help me. Pretty much all of your suggestions! I just created a free 30 minute therapeutic stretch session for overcoming the winter blues!

    1. Hi Dianne! Hope you have a great workout today. It’s warming up here this weekend, and I hope to get a walk outside sometime soon. Blessings to you!

  4. Great reminders to keep our spirits up and our hearts focused on God. My favorite is the Christian Meditation. What was the app you worked on? Love the benefits of exercise and think everything looks better when I’m well rested. Fun tip about the counting heartbeats!

    1. I keep searching the app store for it, but I don’t believe my client published it yet. If/when he does, I’ll post about it. My eyes are droopy today, so I think rest needs to take precedence. I’ll probably log off and get a quick nap in, then get my steps going too! Blessings to you, friend.

  5. Thank you! I struggle with depression, which gets worse during the dark, rainy winter months. I’ve struggled with the concept of self-care. But this makes sense. Taking time each day to spend time in the word focusing on one or two verses. The one other thing I would suggest as you meditate on a verse or two is to go and read the verses in context.

    1. Hi Sarah! I’m glad you liked this post. I need all three of these tips today to fight off my moodiness. Blessings to you!

  6. Meditation on God’s Word always helps with everything. This year I’m memorizing and meditating on the book of Colossians. It takes me from myself to Him-the light of the world.

  7. I love this post, Sarah! I believe it’s the first post I’ve read about winter blues that includes meditating on God’s Word as a way to combat the winter funk! Thank you for this reminder! I’ve been fighting against the darkness this winter, and I was trying to really focus on what is good and right in my life – taking photos of snow and pretty things. . . And then God led me back into his Word and reminded me that this is the true, honorable, right, pure, and lovely stuff that will stick to my bones! May we be women of his Word!

    1. Hi Stacey! I thought about taking photos of last week’s snow, but it was so cold I just couldn’t do it. I did take a few photos of my children sledding…that was it. I need to take more photos this year to preserve good memories and God’s glorious creation. Blessings to you!

  8. I’ve had this for YEARS and this is probably the best advice I’ve read on the subject and I totally agree! I actually implement most of these but my daughter is persuading me in the oils department too! We’ve got to take care of ourselves so we can be there for our people!

  9. Meditating on God’s Word is what keeps me going these days. The blues try to sneak in here and there but I focus on a verse let it breathe life into my mental and physical health. Blessings Sarah,

  10. I was introduced to the power and practice of “contemplative prayer” which is just another name for what you are talking about, Sarah. It really captured my interest at the time and I began to practice it here and there. I always do something of a meditative approach to God as I’m praying. I don’t like to rush past that meeting I am having with Him. So I am still, so that I can “know” God. I also like meditating on Scripture. It’s gotten me through a lot of stressful moments and like you’ve said, really integrates it into our thinking and memory more. Great post, Sarah! I’ll be sharing!

    1. Thanks for sharing, Beth! Contemplative prayer is a good phrase to describe it. I’m writing about it in my next book. Off to write my guest post for you now!

  11. Wonderful tips! I appreciate your quick guide to meditation.
    Exercise has not been a friend of mine either, although I always feel so much better when I keep up on it. I’ll have to try essential oils for sleep. I’ve been struggling with this lately- partly due to a baby who still is not sleeping through the night, but I think some of it may be due to hormonal changes, as well. Either way, it’s no fun not getting a good night’s sleep!
    Great article Sarah! Thanks for the helpful tips. 🙂

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Rachel! Hope you get better sleep tonight…I was up several times last night due to a storm. I’m sure tonight will be better, especially if I prioritize exercise today. Blessings to you!

  12. LOVE the steps you spell out here for meditation. It’s so often just an idea that I see floating around and because it’s just an idea, I never truly sit down and do it! These steps are practical and I can’t wait to try it! 🙂

    1. Thanks Nicole! I’m breaking for lunch now, and I’m going to meditate while I enjoy my bowl of soup. Blessings to you!

  13. I do not do a specific form of meditation but am working on sitting in silence with God and then building up the time I am quiet. It is hard not to get distracted. I also am working on eating clean and taking care of my body through exercise. It makes such a difference.

    1. Hi Mary! I agree, distractions abound, even though I am working at home alone Monday through Fridays. Like you, I’m trying to exercise and eat more healthfully this January. Thanks for stopping by!

  14. What a thorough post Sarah! Well done! Great points that are so helpful. I learned why these points are valid and how to effectively incorporate them. Happy to share on Facebook! Someone’s hindsight through personal experience is gold. Your struggle ends up imparting blessings to others. Thank you!

    1. Thank you for your kind words and your share today, Gretchen. So excited to watch what God is doing through you this year!

  15. I can totally relate to your comments on exercise. That was me in school to a T. I’m trying to do better on my treadmill and your were a great encouragement today! Blessings to you!

    1. I’m so glad my post encouraged you, Donna. I really need to squeeze in exercise today…so busy, but it’s so important. Blessings to you too!

  16. God’s word is truly medicine for the soul! I, too, suffer from SAD. In my prayer time, I like to ask God to fill me with His unspeakable joy – there are days in the winter months when I need to pray that often throughout my day. Thanks for linking up with Grace and Truth.

    1. Hi Aimee! I agree, God’s Word helps me through my winter blues more than anything else. I hope you can find help and comfort this winter as you struggle with SAD. Blessings to you, friend!

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