Do you believe in WINTER BLUES? I don’t think it is a secret that winters, especially in naturally colder climates are brutal on mental and emotional health. Here in Michigan, winters are so unpredictable. Like our “first snow” on December 1st (seen below) that was a fun and light snow.

Oh how I wish these smiles were experienced every day like in that photo. But the reality is that winter for me suck.

I know personally for me that winter blues bring undesired weight gain and lack of motivation to stay active. And with those two results, the last thing I think about is how does winter affect my daughter? So i asked my daughter, Jenesis, and she told me that winter and COVID made her feel sad. She missed playing outside with her friends and the days were boring.

Now this is coming from a 4-year-old. So just imagine what older kids and adults may be feeling right now. For some there is a strong sense of anger because of the cold. For others there is a sense of fear or anxiety because of the
dangerous driving conditions. And even for some, like me, just a deep profound feeling of sadness and discontentment.

What emotions do you experience in the winter months?

Last year, I noticed the negative emotional and physical impact that winter was having on me and those I love. Following a long, fun summer, we were now faced with shorter days, limited access to sunlight, less time outside, and bitterly cold weather was a recipe for sadness.

No wonder the acronym for Seasonal Affective Disorder is SAD. SAD is a form of depression that follows a seasonal pattern. Typically, individuals with SAD have symptoms of depression in the fall leading into the winter, with some reprieve in the spring and summer. While SAD is often talked about in terms of adults, children and adolescents can experience similar symptoms.

Come on now…let’s be honest here. I wrote this blog because I feel strongly that I am not alone in this dreadful season. After speaking with a virtual community of @DadInfluencers about mental health as a dad, there was a discovery that many stay-at-home dads were experiencing the downward spiral because of winter in a pandemic.

No we don’t control the weather. I mean look what happened in the northeast of the United States back this past January. The back-to-back snow blizzards caused quite the flurry. Then this month (February) as far south as Texas and Louisiana got snow and saw record-low temperatures. It’s crazy to think that in the middle of a pandemic, we are facing another global threat of climate control simultaneously. But as “responsible” parents, it is not enough to just spiral especially when you have model problem-solving and self-control in front of your little ones.

So this winter my family and I made a commitment to get creative with ways to stay active and boost our emotional/mental health by moving. Whether it is running around our basement playing tag or dance party Fridays, we keep MOVING. in one form or another, we move for at least 30 minutes per day. We have a set routine every day on our calendar to kick the winter blues and MOVE.

I challenge you and your family to start a routine to get moving and see the difference if can make! Can’t wait to continue this through the spring and summer when its either too rainy or too hot. There is always a solution to every problem we face in life – we must be willing to look for it.

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