60 Days Till Spring. Beating the Winter Blues in Montana
Winter in Montana can be a beautiful and majestic time of year, but it can also be a time of long nights, cold temperatures, and feelings of isolation. It seems to really kick in right about now... after we've made it thru the somewhat artificial glow of Christmas and a half-hearted "hurrah" for the New Year. Then, late January settles in. The "winter blues" can be a real issue for many people, including this author. Experts say there are ways to beat the winter blues.
Try to stay active.
One way to beat the winter blues is to stay active. Going for a hike or a brisk walk can be a great way to get some exercise, fresh air, and a dose of vitamin D. You don't have to go far. Even a simple walk around your neighborhood or a short drive to a nearby public Fishing Acces Site like Duck Creek or Sportsman's (two of my favorite places to chill by the river near Billings) can help to lift your spirits. If you're not a fan of the cold, you can still stay active by going to a gym or taking a yoga class.
Connect with people.
Another way to beat the winter blues is to stay connected with friends and family. Whether it's a phone call, text, or video chat, staying in touch with the people you care about can help to combat feelings of isolation and loneliness. You can also join a group or club that interests you and meet new people with similar hobbies and interests. I've found myself reaching out to friends and family this time of year.
Can't jet off to the beach? Try this instead.
Many Montanan's book trips to somewhere warm in Jan/Feb/March to help fight the winter blues. It's amazing what a week on the beach can do for the soul. But travel is certainly expensive and if a trip to the beach is out of the question, do this at a minimum to get thru the final months of winter.
- Get enough sleep.
- Eat well.
- Manage stress.
I've found red light therapy (aka infrared therapy) to be quite beneficial and there are no harmful UV rays from the lights. Most tanning salons in Billing offer red light therapy booths, including Versa Tan, and the benefits are well-researched.
Booze doesn't help.
Ok, so I feel like I'm writing this sentence to remind myself here, but drinking to cope with winter depression simply doesn't work. Everyone knows that alcohol is a depressant and the only way booze could make winter slightly less depressing is if it were being poured into my mouth on a Mexican beach. And then it wouldn't be the booze making you feel better, but it would be the fact that you are on a beach and not trapped in what sometimes seems like an everlasting winter.
NOTE: This article is meant to be a lighthearted take on dealing with seasonal depression in Montana. But depression is no joke. If you are struggling or have suicidal thoughts please call or text 988, the relatively new nationwide hotline. Someone is standing by to help, right now.