The winter months can seem exceptionally long, especially when cold and dreary, bringing their fair share of stress this season as well! Between the holidays, busy schedules, and changes in daylight and weather, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. To help give you a respite, we’ve compiled six ways to stress less this winter.

Incorporate Physical Activity

Exercise is often less consistent this time of year, but staying active is a great way to manage stress, among many other health benefits. Add some physical activity to each day. Consider indoor options like the gym, a class, or home workouts whenever the weather isn’t conducive to exercising outside. If you’re heading outdoors for a workout, dress appropriately for the weather and wear reflective gear during the hours of limited daylight.

Eat Mindfully

Stress less about your food intake by being more intentional about your choices. It’s so easy to get caught up in the season that we forget to fuel ourselves for nutrition and energy. Practice eating more mindfully by asking questions beforehand, like why, what, when, where, and how much. Ask yourself if you’re actually hungry or feeling a different kind of emotion instead. When we take more time to think about our choices before eating, we’re more likely to make healthier decisions. Keeping healthy options more convenient can ease the stress of eating more healthfully, too!

Set Boundaries

We put a lot on our plates this season between holidays, get-togethers, work, family, and events. It’s easy to over-commit only to be left feeling overwhelmed. Think realistically about the time you have each day and what your priorities are. Set boundaries and say no when necessary. By setting boundaries, you’ll be able to focus more on meaningful things, and then you’ll feel better about the leftover time you have for extra tasks.

Take a Relaxing Moment

We all need a moment to catch our breath from time to time. During a busy or dreary winter, it’s necessary to take time to breathe and relax, even if only for a few minutes. Close your eyes and take deep breaths, stretch to relax tense muscles, or look at cherished pictures from the year. The list of options is endless, and it really doesn’t have to be something that takes long to complete. If your day takes an overwhelming turn, pause for a relaxing moment before you dive into the next item on your checklist.

Enjoy Nature

The weather makes it more unpredictable to enjoy the great outdoors this time of year, but fresh air can still do wonders for stress management. Taking a quick break to enjoy the sights and sounds of nature is a surefire way to change an overwhelming perspective. If you’re feeling stressed from being couped up this winter, try a five-minute nature break. Use all your senses to see what you can see, hear, touch, smell, and taste.

Read a Book or Listen to Music

Turn off the screens and choose a different relaxing activity like reading a book or listening to music. While television and endless scrolling might feel relaxing for a bit, it’s easy to end up binge-watching too many shows or feel even more stressed after looking at social media. Screenless activities are good alternatives for more lasting stress relief.

If you find the stress of the season affecting your ability to get through day-to-day tasks, it can be a sign that a little extra support is necessary. Talk with your doctor or a licensed professional for help personalizing and implementing more strategies to thrive this winter season.

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