Staying mentally healthy during the winter months

Here are my best tips on staying healthy this holiday season!

Personally, I love the cold winter weather. The air is fresh, the snow is beautiful, and it makes me feel less guilty for staying indoors and binge watching Netflix. These benefits do however come with a few major caveats which unfortunately make winter not all sunshine and rainbows. Whether it’s the actual lack of sunshine and rainbows, the shorter days, or the literal cold preventing you from getting outside, I’m going to share with you the importance of staying mentally healthy throughout the winter months and how to do so!

Why Winter?

Now, I don’t think I’m alone in saying it is harder to stay healthy during the winter. The cold air has us stuck up in our homes more than normal which can lead us into boredom. For me, this normally manifests into sitting in front of the tv for longer than anyone should be, while simultaneously emptying my cupboards of anything and everything edible. Is it the healthiest way to deal with boredom? No. Does it work? Not really. So that’s why I am writing this today. I’m going to share with you my favorite ways to get through this beautiful and cold time of year without going crazy. (Or gaining twenty pounds).

Mindfulness

Continuing with my mindfulness practices throughout the winter months is probably my favorite way to make sure I am staying on track with my mental health. My morning breathwork and meditation sessions keep my mind in check which ultimately helps with my optimism. If mindfulness is not currently something you practice, I would argue winter is probably the best time to start with a simple routine. The fact that the days are so much shorter, and we are spending so much more time indoors, allows me to not feel guilty about extending my meditation sessions. So, next time it’s 4:30pm, dark outside, nothing left on netflix to watch, and you’re bored, I would urge you to try meditating or breathing! As someone who has tried many different things in order to optimize their mindset, mindfulness is one of the only things that has remained a constant in my life.

Hobbies

Hobbies are absolutely essential during winter time. I think it’s in our nature now to turn on the tv or scroll on our phones anytime we feel even the slightest bit of boredom. But what if we channeled that energy into something more beneficial? For me, I chose mountain biking. I know, I know, this might not sound like the best winter hobby as it’s outdoors and requires daylight, but given my flexible work schedule I am able to make it work. The important thing in choosing a hobby is that it is something you enjoy, and that you hold yourself accountable to doing it! When I wake up in the morning, look outside my window, and see the cold and rainy day outside, I don’t let that stop me from riding because I know that 100% of the time I’m glad I went. And, it helps me to not feel like a slob spending the rest of the day indoors. If getting out in the winter weather isn’t your thing, there are plenty of hobbies that can be done indoors as well! Whether that’s woodworking or knitting it’s not important, all that matters is that we are keeping ourselves busy doing something that hopefully doesn’t contain a screen. 

Exercise

If you do decide to pick up an indoor hobby, you still may find you are feeling a little sluggish. This is where exercise comes in! Starting your day with a little bit of movement will release endorphins and give you the energy you need to take on whatever challenge lies ahead of you. I’m not going to go into detail about how important exercise is, especially during the winter months, but it does so much more for me than just keeping me physically healthy.

Latest psilocybin research

Amidst all of this of course microdosing psilocybin can also be beneficial. I find that the boost in creativity, energy, and optimism makes it the perfect pick me up for the colder and darker months of the year. With that being said, I would just like to touch on one of the newer studies done that explored the benefits of psilocybin mushrooms as antidepressants in comparison with traditional antidepressant medication. Overall, it found that psilocybin “performed just as well as a widely used antidepressant in easing the symptoms of major depression, and outperformed the common prescription medication on a range of secondary measures, results of a small-scale phase II study show.” This is, of course, major progress in the field. While further long term research is required before mushrooms can be used in the mainstream, I think the narrative being written continues to solidify our (current users of psilocybin) views. One thing this study does not include, which I believe is the most important aspect of mushrooms, is the fact that they can leave us without symptoms for months on end, ending the narrative where we need to be on antidepressants for life. Obviously this will be shown as our science starts to explore these medicines further, but to me, this is the single most important aspect that they have to offer, freedom. 

Mush love, Westcoast Microdose 🍄

Sources

https://www.webmd.com/depression/news/20210415/study-magic-mushrooms-may-best-drug-for-depression 

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