Who else is glad January is over? It’s one of those months that only exists because it has to. February is a little better in that it’s a month full of pink, chocolate, and a ground hog that may or may not see it’s shadow (but he’s the cutest thing ever!). None the less, it’s a month that can also drag on and on. Winter, although beautiful in it’s own right, is not my favorite season for mental health reasons. It’s just hard! Sunlight is hard to find, coats keep us concealed, and central heating gives us dry skin. I’ll pass. So what can we expect this month in terms of mental health?
Hope for the Coming Weeks
We’re almost half way through winter! Finally. In my opinion, winter starts as soon as Christmas ends. Christmas is really it’s own season. Right around the first week of February however, we start to feel hope! March is just around the corner! The birds will be singing, the earth is starting to wake up again, and Michael’s Craft Store is full of Easter greenery. There is hope indeed!
Loneliness (Looking at You Valentine’s Day)
Ah, Valentine’s Day. The dreaded holiday of single people. I remember being single not so long ago and thinking the holiday was silly. Even as someone who’s married I still kind of think it is. And as an independent gal, I’ll buy my own flowers and chocolate if I want them! However, for many single people, it can be a really lonely time. It seems like everyone on social media is out on a date and you wonder when it’s going to be your turn. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, take yourself on a date or meet up with some friends. Get the wine and cheeseboard and treat yourself to some roses! I’ve always thought that before you can love someone else, you have to love yourself.
Stretches of Depression
Even though we can FEEL spring coming, February can still be depressing. Many of us will probably experience a few stretches of depression throughout the month. These are most likely to occur during rainy or snowy weather thanks to the sun hiding behind the clouds. It’s important to go outside and get fresh air in your lungs and take vitamins! Meditation and keeping a journal can also help during this time.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
Just like in January, this will still be something many people deal with well into February. S.A.D. impacts mental health as well as physical health at times. The mind-body connection is real people! Since this disorder can be difficult to treat, it’s best to tell your doctor about the symptoms you’re experiencing to know what kind of treatment will be best for you. BUT know that you are not alone in the way you feel. Many, many people understand the feelings of sadness and exhaustion.
People, like some animals, often feel the need to hibernate this time of the year. The cold and wet conditions tell us we need to stay inside to thrive. Unfortunately, this usually leads to feelings of isolation and exhaustion. The more we stay inside and in bed, the more isolated and tired we feel. Have you ever slept for 11 hours straight? You usually feel like you can sleep even longer. That’s like hibernation, except in humans, it usually just ends in a splitting headache and feeling depressed. Get out of bed and be among people, even if you don’t want to.
February isn’t always a fun month. But taking care of your mental health is the best way to get through it. My grandmom always used to say “it’s always brighter in the morning,” and the morning will come sooner than you think.