Winter brings forth images of warm beverages, cozy fires, and glorious winter wonderlands. However, it also brings forth images of icy roads, runny noses, and seasonal depression.

Not only are you more likely to get sick due to close contact and the fact that viruses are more likely to survive in cold climates with little humidly, according to Health Line. But, according to Psychology Today, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) affects as many as ten million people in the United States each year around this time.

Winter can be rough, but by having compassion with yourself and following these steps, you can have a fulfilling life and get the full potential of winter:

  1. Make Your Mental Health Treatment a Priority

The first step to staying healthy over the winter is to make time to see one of the many mental health professionals available to you in the state of Maryland. By becoming a new client to a Baltimore therapist, you can get the therapeutic care you need from licensed counselors and clinical psychologists. Whether you’re struggling with self-esteem issues, coping with a new life situation, family conflict, life transitions, or you just need some advice about new skills for stress management; you’ll find a clinical psychologist ready to provide one-on-one psychotherapy.

Or, if you’re struggling with relationship issues, the Baltimore Therapy Group has professional counselors with extensive training in couples therapy, marriage counseling, couples counseling, and family therapy. Note: Teletherapy is all that is currently offered due to COVID-19.

Whatever you’re mental health concerns are, the Baltimore Therapy Group will find a psychologist who will understand everything from substance abuse issues to attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to bipolar disorder to crisis intervention to the mere need for occupational therapy services. Becoming a new client here will provide you with acceptance and the individualized approach you need to help you address your behavior and provide helpful insight through psychotherapy that doesn’t discriminate based on basis of race, national origin, or sexual orientation.

  1. Compare Health Insurance Plans

For peace of mind throughout the winter, you’re going to need access to health insurance that covers your ideal clinicians. Compare health insurance with iSelect to get the best health insurance coverage for your individual needs. Depending on your age group, illnesses, and need for dental coverage; you can put in a query for the best health insurance to best fit your finances.

According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, between the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, the Affordable Care Act of 2010, and the expansion of Medicaid (in many states) in the United States; mental health services are now covered just like physical healthcare would be (in most cases). This helps ensure some form of coverage, however, every insurance company and health insurance plan are going to be a little different. So, make sure that your health plan covers therapeutic care so you’ll have the capacity to see a therapist (or ensure your current therapist will be in your network provider). Reach out to iSelect to find the best insurance company for your individual health insurance needs.

  1. Pay Attention to Your Diet

The relevance of nutrition to our ability to fight the increase in viruses and the “winter blues” is shown in a lot of instances. According to Harvard Health Publishing, the best way to naturally boost the immune system is by keeping up with “good-health guidelines” and three out of the top 5 ways to do this are related to diet (namely, a “diet high in fruits and vegetables”, drinking in moderation, and maintaining a healthy weight). For example, one study found that while vitamin-C does NOT prevent colds, it does shorten the duration of a cold and make symptoms less severe. Waiting until you’re already getting sick or exposed to a cold to start ingesting vitamin-C was completely useless.

Another Harvard Health Publishing article notes how “multiple studies” have found a connection between a “diet high in refined sugars and impaired brain function” and they found that this tended to result in a worsening of symptoms of mood disorders (especially depression). Studies found that your risk of depression is 25-35 percent lower when following a Mediterranean diet (lots of fruits and veggies, little to no processed foods) as opposed to a Western diet.

  1. Get a “Happy Light”

According to Psychology Today, it is thought that people with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) may not produce as much vitamin-D in response to sunlight and vitamin-D could affect the way the body produces serotonin (leading to depression). By getting a lightbox (one used for light therapy), you can increase levels of vitamin-D, improve your mood, improve your sleep cycle, and get some artificial sunlight on the days where natural sunlight isn’t an option.

  1. Practice Disease Fighting Tactics

As we transition to a (hopefully) post COVID-19 life, it has arguably never been more vital to take extra precautions against viruses this winter. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), getting your seasonal flu shot and practicing regular and thorough hand washing can help prevent as many as one in five respiratory illnesses. Take an honest assessment of your practices towards fighting illnesses and make the necessary adjustments.

Author's Bio: 

I am Malik Nauman, a reputed guest blogger, who has been in this profession for about 6 years now. I have been sharing my opinions and contributing to varied websites.