How to Reach Out and Fight Off Winter Blues

How to reach out and fight off winter blues.

In this final post of my winter blues series, we’ll talk about the importance of reaching out and using intentional friendship to beat seasonal affective disorder.

We have covered light therapy, eating right, and self care in the past series posts. I hope you’ll check those out too, so you’ll have a full arsenal of ways to battle your winter blues.

Let’s look at five ways reaching out can boost your mood in the winter.

Beat Isolation

I truly love working from home in the quiet all day. But in winter, I can feel lonelier than usual due to the winter blues. Thursday nights are one of my week’s highlights this year. That’s when I go to my live Bible study group, with several lovely ladies from my church. The social time is so much better than any “happy pill” I could take.

In past seasons of winter blues, I knew I needed to reach out to feel better, but I chose to withdraw. When I was in high school, we had an open campus. In the winter, I would drive home to have lunch all by myself. Now I realize greater happiness was waiting for me in the school lunch room. I wish I had stayed and reached out.

Sometimes it’s just plain easier to stay home, bundle in, and make excuses. Especially when it’s cold and snowy. If that’s how you feel, I’ve been there, friend.

When you’re struggling with depression, the very best action you can take is reaching out. Put on your coat, gloves, scarf, and boots, and get out there. Depression turns you focus inward, but intentional friendship helps you focus outward. It will lift your spirits like nothing else can.

I’m glad our group meets every Thursday, because it establishes a social schedule for me. If I didn’t have a standing date, I’d be likely to hole up in my home until spring. That’s not good for me or my family.

One scripture that always intrigues me is this one:

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” Genesis 2:18 NLT

Remember, this was before sin and imperfection had entered the world. Again and again, God said “It is good” after creating the sun, moon, stars, plants, animals, and Adam. But in God’s perfect creation, the only thing God called “not good” was the fact that Adam was alone.

You must be proactive to beat isolation, which will only exacerbate your winter blues. Make an effort today to establish a regular social time, and you’ll quickly reap the rewards.

How to reach out with intentional friendship to beat winter blues. Click To Tweet

Share a Meal

At my Thursday group, one lady graciously hosts AND cooks a meal for us! We dish about local stuff and share fun tips with one another. Then we share the delicious meal before the Bible study begins.

Last night the meal had a fun twist. We’re using my book Newness of Life as the current study, and this week we discussed chapters 5 and 6. In chapter 5, I speak about meals with my great-grandparents. The lady chef surprised us with a meal inspired by that chapter: salted ham, scalloped potatoes, and glazed carrots. She also included orange Jello with carrots and mandarin oranges. Then another lovely friend brought dessert–an apple butter bundt cake. Mmmm…buttery and cinnamon-laced, and so moist! My ancestors with German roots would have been delighted by this meal, and I surely was too!

When you share a meal with friends, the food and fellowship chase your winter blues away. Sharing a meal opens hearts so you can share freely with one another and start practicing intentional friendship. Whether you gather for a coffee or tea, a slice of dessert, or a full meal, the food you share with a friend can help boost your mood.

How sharing a meal with friends can chase winter blues away. Click To Tweet

Practical ways to overcome winter blues. #winter #depression

Rekindle an Old Friendship

The older I get, the harder it feels to make new friends. I’ve found delight in rekindling old friendships. When you see someone that you haven’t seen in a long time, usually you start off on the lighter side. You’ll catch up with what’s going on, and probably share a few laughs about the old times.

Rekindling an old friendship may require less effort than starting a new one. It can be a great way to reach out in intentional friendship. Reach out to your friend on social media and see if you can meet up in person. My eighth grade class will be meeting up later this year, and it promises to be a fun and lighthearted gathering. Perhaps before the group meeting, I can have lunch with one of those old friends to lift my spirits.

I don’t know about you, but I laugh hardest when I’m with my oldest friends. Here’s a quote from Newness of Life on a time to laugh:

God gives us physical benefits in laughter. Laughter releases feel-good endorphins, gives your heart and lungs a workout, and stimulates oxygen circulation and muscle relaxation. Laughing may also strengthen your immune system, provide pain relief, improve your coping skills, and boost your mood.

Sounds like the perfect way to beat the winter blues, friends!

Laughter with friends is the perfect antidote to the winter blues. Click To Tweet

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

Take a Day Trip

A change of scenery is great for beating seasonal affective disorder. Too much routine can make you blue, and I’m a gal who loves routine! I need to shake it up every once in a while to see things from a different point of view.

You could use a short trip to put all the winter blues coping strategies together:

  • Choose a sunny day to take a drive, and study the beauty of God’s creation along the way. You may even find an early-blooming daffodil, which I consider God’s love letters to me in the dead of winter.
  • Schedule lunch with friends, and share a meal that includes tryptophan-based foods.
  • Include a massage or manicure/pedicure in your day trip to practice good self-care.

Where can you go in the next few weekends to beat your winter blues? Who will you take along?

How a day trip can help you combat winter blues. Click To Tweet

Volunteer

Studies have proven that helping other people can eradicate your winter blues. If you take a friend along when you volunteer, you’ll get even more benefits by pursuing intentional friendship at the same time! Last night, my group talked about volunteer opportunities in our area. These might be good ideas for you too.

  • Cuddling newborn babies at the hospital
  • Reading to children in a United Way program
  • Serving as a teacher’s assistant
  • Visiting the elderly shut-ins on your church’s prayer list
  • Delivering Meals on Wheels

Did you notice that each one of these opportunities involve interaction with others? You can help someone else beat their winter blues through volunteering.

Volunteering: a 2 for 1 way to beat winter blues. Click To Tweet

How to Reach Out and Fight Off Winter Blues

What’s Next

I’m so thankful you’ve joined me for this series. My next series is titled, “How to Be a Loving Wife in a Difficult Marriage.” It will post on Thursdays in February 2018. I’m guest posting on a few other blogs in February on this topic, so you’ll have a lot of timely content to encourage you. I hope you’ll join me, and you can sign up below for my newsletter to receive reminders of the posts.

Here’s a prayer to conclude today’s post on intentional friendship:

Lord in Heaven, I thank you for saying that it’s not good to be alone. I confess that at times I’ve isolated myself and cut myself off from joy and healing. Today I ask you to show me a different way. Show me who I can reach out to for help and friendship. Give me courage and strength to take action against these winter blues I’m facing. I trust that you have good plans for me, Lord! Thank you for being so kind and gracious in my weaknesses. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Questions for you:

Which of these five actions gives you the most hope and inspiration today?

Which post in the four-part series blessed you the most?

Who in your life would be encouraged by reading this winter blue series, or the next one about difficult marriages? Are you be willing to tell them about it? Thanks for your support!

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

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