Main menu


5 mental health tips for surviving Michigan's winter season

featured image

It’s like feeling age since we saw the sun in southwestern Michigan.

Naturally I can’t find it right now, but I saw a post on social media from a local meteorologist that said it’s been at least 14 days since we in southwest Michigan hadn’t had saw the sun. I don’t care how “strong” you are mentally. Being under cloud cover for so long has an effect on both your mind and your body.

The good news? The sun goes eventually come back, even if it’s just to peek through the clouds.

Until then, it would be perfectly understandable and reasonable for you to have mental health issues. Maybe you slept more. Maybe you felt hopeless. Maybe you felt depressed. Speaking from personal experience, the disappearance of the sun behind the clouds is only the last obstacle to overcome. And please let this be a reminder that you’re not alone.

If you’re looking for a few ways to maintain or improve your mental health during Michigan’s cold and often cloudy months, here are at least 5 tips:

Before I start, I will say that these tips may seem generic and, perhaps, you have already seen them. But, they work. Even if they bother.

1. Get outside and exercise

Runner tying sport shoes


I to know. That’s what everyone says. But, it really helps. Even if you avoid the outdoors because of snowfall or low temperatures, finding a way to get your body moving helps your mental health. Personally, I commit to doing at least 20 minutes of movement a day (something recommended to me by my therapist). Sometimes it’s yoga. Sometimes it’s just a walk.

Yes, it’s boring. Yes it works.

Want to explore local preserves? Here are at least 7 that you can consult all year round. Come prepared with heavy hiking boots or snowshoes you should visit in winter:

2. Stay connected with people

Young woman using smartphone for video call


This one is easier said than done.

As adults, our lives become very busy. And, if you live far from your friends, finding a way to connect can be difficult. But we live in the age of Facetime, Zoom, and other video chat apps. Take advantage of it and contact your missing friends or family. Even a ten minute conversation can remind you that you are loved and supported.

3. Keep appointments for overall health

doctor holding heart


Again, I’m speaking from personal experience, but when you have trouble getting out of bed, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep appointments like an annual medical checkup, dental appointment, and more. of the. But, future you thank you for maintaining these appointments.

Also, your doctor may have recommendations to help you get through the winter.

Speaking of…

4. Try light therapy

According to Mayo Clinic, a light box could help with seasonal affective disorder. However, they recommend talking to your doctor first. If you’re buying a light box to help with depression, the Mayo Clinic also notes that the box should provide as little UV light as possible while providing 10,000 lux of light.

Learn more below:

5. Cognitive-behavioral therapy

Woman writing in notepad at wooden table


CBT can seem complicated. But, in reality, it involves some simple tasks to improve your mental health.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a type of treatment that helps people identify thought patterns that negatively influence thoughts or behavior and then change those patterns. Would it be better to go through this with a therapist? Probably. But, since there are people who cannot afford therapy, here are some things you can try:

  • Logging. Putting all your thoughts on paper can be a helpful way to reframe them or better understand them.
  • Relaxation or stress reduction techniques. This includes things like deep breathing, meditation, and taking a moment to relax every muscle in your body.

Again, I know this advice can be repetitive, but I’ve found simple steps to help my own mental health really work in the long run.

You can find even more tips to help your mental health during the winter from

If you can, I strongly encourage you to find a therapist who can help you with even minor mental health issues. It’s like a focus. Your car needs it. Your body needs it. Your mind needs it too.

*If you are having difficulty and need immediate help, please call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 988.*

3 of the snowiest cities in the United States are in Michigan

12 Cozy Cabins for the Perfect Michigan Winter Getaway

Winter doesn’t have to be everything bad thanks to these cozy cabin stays all over Michigan.