I have never experienced a “real winter” before and that is all about to change. About seven months ago my family moved from Southern California to the great Midwest. Growing up, we would visit the mountains often for skiing and vacations but I have never lived anywhere that has all four seasons. It is starting to get downright cold lately and being outdoors is starting to really kick up my asthma symptoms. It’s hard to not get sad and bummed out when the frigid temperatures prevent me from doing everything that I want to do. I asked some of my asthmatic friends for advice on how to handle the winter blues and keep them away.
Find Indoor Activities
When it is just too darn cold to be outside, don’t let that keep you from being as active as you can. Sometimes just getting out of the house for a change of scenery can really help boost your spirits. I like going to an indoor mall and just walking around. I can go at the pace that I want and spend a morning or afternoon window shopping. Meeting a friend for a meal is also a great reason to get out of the house. Another great place to visit is your local library. Often times the library will host events and workshops, and if that is not your style, find a cozy chair and get lost in a book for a few hours!
Don’t be a Social Hermit
If you are unable to get out as often as you would like during the cold winter months, try to still stay connected with friends and family. Living two thousand miles away from my family has made it really hard for me. When I’m feeling down, a phone call to a family member or close friend definitely helps lift my spirits. These days social media is another great way to connect with people. There are many asthma specific groups out there that are an amazing source of support. We are all dealing with asthma and can relate to each other on levels that people who don’t have asthma just can’t understand.
For me, I find that if I stay busy I am less sad or bummed out. I am a planner and I make it a point to keep a paper planner and write out what my goals and plans are for each week. I make it a point to mix in fun with daily household duties and chores. My children keep me on my toes and we love to spend time doing crafts and playing games together, especially when the weather isn’t favorable.
Talk About it
Like our physical health, our mental health is also so important. Society has come a long way with normalizing talking about our mental health but there is still a long way to go. When we start to feel sad, frustrated, scared, or lonely it is imperative that we talk about it. Keeping those thoughts and feelings bottled up inside can actually make asthma symptoms kick up. Stress and extreme emotions can be huge asthma triggers.
Preparing and writing this post has been surprisingly therapeutic for me. I’ll be sure to follow what I have written about and not let myself be overcome with the winter blues. I’d love to hear your tips and tricks that you have found as well!