Winter brings with it the beautiful holiday season and, for those of us in the Black Hills, a majestic snow-covered landscape. This is the time of the year to gather with family, to welcome in the New Year, to hit the slopes, to rejoice. But sadly, not everyone is able to enjoy the gifts of Winter.
This is also the time of year in which people are often reminded of their difficulties. Winter can also bring feelings of melancholy, isolation and depression for many. SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder, is a very real thing and can lead to more severe issues. Living in the Black Hills climate means that during the winters, we spend a lot of time inside, away from the precious Vitamin D of the sun. Vitamin D deficiency can be a significant factor in depression.
It’s important that we reach out to those who are suffering, during this season most particularly, and find ways to include them and bring them joy. Call a friend you haven’t seen in a while, make a date to get together. On a practical note, when you’re feeling low your entire being can be affected. You’re more susceptible to colds and flu’s. Your immune system can be suppressed. And you may experience inflammation more severely, which can have a profound effect upon the body, mind and spirit.
It’s not uncommon for people with depression to also experience injuries. Depression can also impact your body’s ability to recover from injury.
If you are experiencing sadness this winter season, here are some things you can do:
Develop a support system. Let your friends and family know that you are not feeling your best. Ask for what you need – if it’s just time with people who care about you, or something more specific. Allow the people in your life to know how they might make the situation just a little bit better.
Check in with your health care practitioners. Your doctors, nurses, chiropractors, dentists and wellness specialists are there to provide care to your entire being. Your doctor doesn’t need to write you a prescription to be involved in your health and wellness. Knowing what issues you’re facing is an important part of providing care and guidance. It also establishes a baseline, so that as they check in with you regularly they are informed about what changes you may be experiencing.
Give to others. Providing care and compassion to other people will not only help remind you of what you have, it may actually improve your outlook and your situation. Even an hour of time dedicated to someone in greater need than yourself, can warm your own heart and make your day better. Reach out to local churches, community centers and missions to see what you may be able to offer. Make a financial donation to the Humane Society (they’re still dealing with the recent rescue of 75 neglected and emaciated animals from North Pennington County).
Spend an afternoon at the Cornerstone Mission, preparing and serving warm meals to the community. Or, knit a hat and scarf and wrap it around one of the President Statues in downtown Rapid City, for the homeless, on behalf of the Hope Center.
Giving is a great way of receiving joy for yourself and will be much appreciated by those in need during these cold winter months.
Lastly, but most importantly, be kind and compassionate to yourself. Life can be hard and winters are often a reminder of what may be missing in our lives. We spend much of our time indoors and alone, during this season. Find ways to make that time joyful. Invite friends in to a potluck dinner. Treat yourself to a soothing massage. Get our Vitamin D! Spend time with the people who remind you of how wonderful you truly are. Avoid anyone and anything negative or harmful.
Rushmore Family Chiropractic values each and every one of you. We want to know how you are feeling and how we can help you feel even better.