Winter is a beautiful time of year, but it is often when the mundane daily life, cabin fever, and other “winter blues” so to speak, start to take their toll on us. Physically we tend to gain weight, too, and not just as a consequence of holiday feasting. We spend time sitting inside, streaming shows, and snacking, as if we are merely bears in hibernation.
Spiritually, this means we also suffer. We are called to live our faith, and quite frankly, that is not being a couch potato. Instead of allowing the devil to weigh us down in our winter blues, we must rise up and face God because we can’t measure our spiritual lives by our best days alone. We must also strengthen ourselves for our worst days.
8 Ways To Get Rid Of The Winter Blues
Don’t be bored. I will always remember the saying “Dirty hands mean a clean heart.” Not dirty hands, like committing a crime, but dirty hands as in working hands. Do something! There are enough resources out there for you to start crocheting or wood-burning or tap dancing on your kitchen floor. Just do it. It helps the soul. You’ll feel accomplished even if it’s just a tacky-looking macrame; do it enough and you might become a pro. Even if every piece you create is not perfect, be proud of it. We are meant to create, but only God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth (and us), is perfect.
Serve. One way not to be bored is to do community service. Your local community always needs help somewhere—soup kitchens, donations, ministries—even during pandemic lockdowns. (I know, I mentioned it, but it’s true. Stop using the pandemic to rationalize spiritual lock-down, and find a way to participate virtually or in a way you are comfortable.)
Contemplate rather than complain. Yoga and meditation are all the rage, but they are also controversial in the world of Christianity. There’s something to silence, though, and meditation—even a step further into contemplation, where you just be with God. These are gifts of our Christian spirituality.
If there is silence, don’t try to create noise (unless, of course it’s your new musical hobby). Don’t break silence for the sake of hearing something distracting. Don’t complain just to hear your own voice. Listen. Listen to the still and small voice of God speaking to you or just wanting you to know He is there.
Call a friend. They are probably in their own blues, too, so call someone. We are called to community. Make an intentional choice to be honest without complaining, genuine without being emotionally unchaste. Even if it’s just one minute of awkward greeting and small talk, that’s a start. Call you neighbors and check on them, please! God will bless your efforts.
DAILY MASS. I mean it. Get up. Get yourself out of bed and out of the house. Get dressed decently. Chance are you’re working from home and, you lazy bones, taking advantage to slack off. God made the seventh day for rest, not all seven days. Starting your day with Mass is incredible.
I am right there with you (most days) with a toddler and newborn by myself. You have time for daily Mass. Don’t give up on yourself if you sleep in or don’t make it before the Gospel or face locked doors because the parish you chose had a priest call off for a cold. Keep trying. God calls us onward; don’t be a sleep glutton. It will change your life.
Drink your water and exercise. Everybody is saying it, “Drink more water!” Well, think of your baptism by water and the fact that you are mostly made up of water. There’s something to drinking all your water. If your body feels hydrated, it’ll help your soul spark up.
You might start salsa dancing instead of binging salsa and chips, stuck in a rut of complaining. If you can’t bring yourself to pray first, then act first and turn your actions into a prayer. Pray to God, Who made you for more than this darkness you’re in. You can make it to Easter’s springtime!
Celebrate! Can the Catholic Church have any more feast days? Actually, we probably could, but that’s not the point. Pick a feast day. Start a novena. There are hundreds of them. Or start a 45 day rosary novena. Pray for whatever is holding you back. Ask God to reveal to you the root of your worry. This is a great way to strengthen you spiritually and celebrate good things and get your mind cleared of all the groggy secular news going around these days.
You might even start looking forward to your new prayer routine and that special treat you celebrate a saint with on the next feast day. Fasting is biblically recommended to fight evil, so save the sweets at least until they really mean something celebratory.
Put down the social media. It is Lent, as I write this, and many have already left social media per traditional modern sacrifices. Maybe you need a break from the comparisons and the noise and the brain-space that social media takes up in your time. What you give you attention to is what you love—do you love God or Facebook? Because if you’re spending hours scrolling, you need to admit you’re worshipping the false god of social media to distract yourself from spiritual growth.
You won’t be stuck in this forever. Winter blues* will go away! Prayer, community, sacraments, fasting, and taking care of the body God gave you—all chase the blues away.
I’m praying for you.
*If you’re struggling with feelings beyond the typical “Winter Blues” that don’t seem to go away when you give some of these suggestions a try, we encourage you to seek help from a counselor, spiritual advisor, or priest.