Women kneeling in the snow with her eyes closed

Navigating Winter Together: Unleashing the Power of Community Resources

Winter in the northland can be beautiful with its snow-capped vistas and frozen
waterfalls. However, it also brings challenges to our mental health that can be difficult to
navigate. From seasonal affective disorder (SAD) to winter blues, many of us
experience changes in our moods as the days grow shorter and the temperatures fall.
Add to that the stresses of the ongoing pandemic, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.
But fear not! In this blog post, we will provide some helpful tips to help you survive the
winter months and highlight the fantastic community resources available to support you
and your mental health.

1. Prioritize Self-Care

Taking care of yourself is essential, particularly during the
winter months. With less daylight and colder temperatures, it can be difficult to
find the energy to stay active and engaged in activities that you enjoy. However, it
is beneficial to schedule time in your day for activities such as exercise,
meditation, reading, or taking a relaxing bath. These activities can help boost
your mood and alleviate stress.

2. Connect with Friends and Family

The winter months can be isolating, making
it essential to stay connected with your loved ones. Social support can have a
significant impact on your mental health. Schedule time to have meals or video
chats with your friends and family to maintain a sense of community and

3. Prioritize Sleep

Another way to support mental health is through sufficient
sleep. Lack of sunlight can disrupt our circadian rhythms and sleep cycles.
Committing to a regular sleep schedule can help combat this — set yourself a
bedtime and stick to it. If you struggle with sleep, particularly during winter,
consider investing in a lightbox. Light therapy has been shown to alleviate
symptoms of SAD and improve mood and energy levels.

4. Seek Professional Support

If you feel that your mental health is declining, it is
essential to seek professional support. Whether through counseling, therapy, or
medication, trained professionals can help you manage your symptoms and
provide guidance during these challenging times. HDC offers a variety of mental
health services, including crisis intervention, outpatient therapy, and case
management, to help individuals with their mental health needs.

5. Crisis Resources

Along with mental health challenges, many individuals may struggle with finding shelter, food, and medical resources during the winter months. HDC has partnered with multiple local community programs and businesses to support and uplift the community. Our crisis resource list (listed below) includes contact information for various crisis shelters, crisis hotlines, board, and lodges and other helpful resources such as where to find meals and medical resources. Along with HDC, partnering with CHUM, Lifehouse, Damiano Center, Safe Haven, Community Action Duluth, American Indian Community Housing (AICHO), and other local resources can also provide a range of services for individuals and families.

6. Volunteer

Volunteering and giving back to the community can have a positive
impact on one’s mental health. During the winter months, many organizations
need extra help to support individuals in need. By volunteering, you not only help
others but also create a sense of purpose, fulfillment, and belonging.

In summary

The winter months can be tough, even under the best of circumstances. If you find
yourself struggling with your mental health during these times, remember that you are
not alone and that help is available. Whether it’s practicing self-care through exercise
and sleep, seeking counseling, or reaching out to community organizations, there is
support to help you navigate difficulties. Remember to be kind to yourself and prioritize
your well-being, both physically and mentally. We hope that this blog post has provided
some helpful tips and resources to help you through the winter with grace and

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