As the holidays wrap up and the gloomy days of January set in, the beginning of the new year can be downright depressing. The winter blues can strike anyone, and teens are no exception. If your teens begin to show signs of sadness, loneliness or loss of interest in their daily activities, they may be suffering from a form of seasonal depression. You can fight the winter blues in your teens with these tips:
Encourage hobbies and social activities. Lack of things to do is often a culprit of sadness and isolation in teens. It’s important to help your teen discover new hobbies and ways in which they can socialize with others who share their interests. Whether it’s taking a yoga class or cooking a new meal, helping your teen explore social outlets will give them things to look forward to, along with opportunities to make new friends in the process. Most importantly, hobbies foster real-life friendships that go beyond social media newsfeeds!
Promote healthy habits. It’s a misconception that younger people don’t need to care as much about their health and wellness. In fact, it’s just as important for teens as adults to establish healthy habits that will set the stage for the rest of their lives. For example, you’ll want to make sure your teen gets the recommended amount of vitamin D each day, either through their diet or supplements. Getting regular physical activity is also important for fighting the winter blues. Finding activities your teens can do in the wintertime, such as skiing or snowboarding, will help them discover enjoyable ways to be active, even in the cold weather.
Consider professional therapy. Even with the best lifestyle management, there are many teens who require the professional support a therapist. A decrease in your teen’s energy levels or lack of motivation could be a clear sign of depression and essentially a cry for help. If your teen can’t seem to shake feelings of irritability, sadness or agitation, it may be time to seek the help of a therapist who can work closely with them on getting to the root of their depression.
Remember, it’s normal for anybody to feel blue during the dreary winter months. Making lifestyle changes that promote physical and mental health can make the post-holiday season a more enjoyable time of year for your teens!