After weeks of winter storms, snow days and cranking up the heat to compensate for single digit temperatures, winter fatigue has most certainly set in.
Wendy Levin-Shaw, LCSW, a therapist with Squirrel Hill Psychological Services, says winter fatigue–or the “winter blues”–can discourage many of us from keeping up with our daily routines and our resolutions to do better.
“It is often a challenge to make healthy choices in the face of the long grey days and cold temperatures. We miss the sun, the blue skies, the ease of getting outside,” said Wendy.
Now that we’re seeing the first signs of spring this week, the winter blues may be fading away as quickly as the snow melts. But regardless of the weather, when a person has their sights set on a goal, whether long-term, such as strengthening a relationship or short-term, like getting organized, it’s still easy to get off track.
“We all know what it is that we should be doing–whether it’s straightening the house or trying to lose weight. No one needs to be told what they should do. It’s more about finding the motivation to help ourselves move forward,” Wendy said.
Wendy has outlined several suggestions for staying on track, regardless of Pittsburgh’s often unpredictable weather patterns.
- Identify your goals – “Clarify what it is you want to accomplish,” Wendy said. “Goal-setting is simply an organized personal planning process that helps you define what you want, long-term and short-term, and allows you to focus on achieving it.”
- Create a mission statement for yourself – Think about how you would feel if you worked toward or achieved your goal and what you would get out of it. “According to Tara Pope Parker of the New York Times, using a mission statement helps you identify your deeper values,” Wendy said. “For instance instead of saying, ‘I want to lose weight to be slimmer,’ consider restructuring your thinking to something like ‘I want to lose weight because it will make me healthier and help me live longer.'”
- Focus on what you can accomplish – “Simply taking a few quiet moments to actually envision yourself doing what you want can provide the motivation you need to move forward,” Wendy said.
The experienced therapists at Squirrel Hill Psychological Services can help with many issues and concerns that affect individual and family life. If you feel a need for counseling or advice, call Squirrel Hill Psychological Services at 412-521-3800 or visit www.squirrelhillpsych.org.