With the world in chaos, there is a higher than ever before need for mental health crisis services. Working with a therapist can help you stabilize, process changes, build your skills, and cope. If you are in Colorado, please reach out to talk about how my counseling or coaching services can help you. If you need help finding a local counselor, check out the listings at Psychology Today. For more immediate help, here is a list of national crisis resources available for you and/or your teenager. In the case of an emergency, call 911.
Are you feeling like crawling under the covers and not coming out until it is summer? Winter can be hard on us. We tend to be less social, get less sunshine, and be less active. Our days are shorter, and sometimes it seems as if warmer weather will never arrive. We can’t speed up nature’s timing, but here are a few ways that you can battle the winter blues while you wait for spring.
Studies show that even ten minutes of physical activity is enough to increase mood. Moderate-intensity anaerobic exercise had even greater benefits in helping people feel happier. Exercise is a cheap and easy way to prevent mental health problems, help you sleep better, and to raise your mood. I offer nature based therapy, which can include hiking or exercise with the horses alongside counseling.
Meditation has been shown to improve wellbeing and happiness at any time of the year. Studies show meditation can help reduce tension, increase calmness and reduce worry. Meditation increases chemicals like oxytocin and melatonin in the body. These hormones help us feel happy and relaxed. If sitting in silence is difficult for you, there are many guided meditations available through apps and for free on the web.
Many of us choose comfort foods when we aren’t feeling our best. Emotionally eating foods full of sugars and grease may give tasty pleasure, but they wreak long term havoc on our systems. Refined sugars can cause blood sugar spikes and dips. These fluctuations can send our mood spiraling out of balance. Greasy foods can increase slow and sluggish feelings as they digest, increasing lethargy. Opting for complex carbohydrates and a balanced diet can increase your chances of mood stability.
Try Light Treatments
Some people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This can present like depression, but a big difference is that SAD generally only bothers a person during the darker winter months. Sometimes a light treatment box can help with this kind of feeling down. Blue light especially has been shown to be helpful. If you are concerned you may be experiencing SAD, it’s a good idea to have a chat with your doctor.
Hopefully one or all of these tips will help you get through the rest of winter more easily! It is normal for everyone to feel some sort of winter blues. If you are experiencing sadness that feels abnormal or that is negatively affecting your life, counseling may be able to help. I offer psychotherapy solutions in Boulder, Colorado. Please reach out if you are local and in need of help. To find a therapist near you, check out the counselor listings provided by psychology today.
Psychology Today published an excellent article detailing many of the ways equine therapy is being shown effective. The benefits described in the article include an increase in trust and self esteem; decreases in depression, anxiety and isolation. Additionally, equine assisted therapy has been shown to increase mindfulness, self esteem, impulse control, sense of identity, self efficacy, and communication. Participants in equine therapy have also shown growth in assertiveness, boundary setting skills, creativity, giving, spontaneity, and perspective.
I have found that many people prefer to do their therapy with horses. Some clients report faster growth, and working with the herd brings a new perspective. Please contact me today if you would like to chat more about equine therapy and the benefits it may bring to you!!
Observation and the study show that horses sense the emotions of the herd around them, be that people or other horses. This is described in more detail on my Why Horses page. A new study has looked at heart rate variability coupling between people and horses and found it to occur. This gives indication that being with horses may increase a measure of health. To read more, click here.