A friend recently posted a photo on social media, showing various members of her family basking in the glow of individual sun lamps. “Staying ahead of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder),” she commented.
Judging from the many responses she got, plenty of people are struggling with their emotions right now. Moods often take a dive in winter — after all, in many places, it’s dark and cold, and on top of a scaled-back holiday season, the beginning of the New Year just feels…gloomy. January 2021 may pose more mental health risks for the whole family than usual.
As nice as it feels to say goodbye to 2020, the New Year won’t magically put an end to the stresses most families have endured since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Even with the promise of effective vaccines on the horizon, the start of 2021 is going to be a test of everyone’s patience and endurance. The longer we need to stay vigilant and practice social distancing, the more weary we’re bound to feel.
So should you grab up some therapeutic lamps for the whole family? Buy a bunch of self-help books? Get a therapist, if you don’t already have one, on speed dial? If those things seem helpful to you, give them a try. But here are some additional tips you can put into practice to help you stay on top of family mental health in the days ahead:
Hang in there, families — we’ll all get through this together.
Compassion and connectedness are the two words that come to mind when we think of how we’d like to handle family dinners this month. In this post, we round up some of the best examples of dinner-related connection and compassion we’ve heard from real families.
Real Family Dinner Projects: Top Family Tips for Connection and Compassion
While we’re all for keeping expectations low and menus easy this winter, it’s also worth mentioning that good nutrition plays its own role in keeping everyone healthy — physically and emotionally. Our friend Dr. Uma Naidoo is an expert in the brain-nutrition connection. Try her mood-boosting salmon recipe!
Salmon with Zucchini and Macadamia Pesto
Give everyone’s spirits a lift with a family dance party — with homemade dessert built in!
Use these conversation starters to check in on how everyone’s feeling, and make sure they know how to take care of themselves during challenging times.
2023 The Family Dinner Project