Winter brings change: the weather, the holidays, and for some, the "winter blues." This can be especially difficult to work through and it may be hard to know the best way to support your partner struggling with changes in mood and energy levels.
What are some ways that you can show your partner that you are there for them during these transitions?
We asked our team for their biggest tips to supporting your partner through the winter blues and here is their advice.
If you are aware of your partner's winter "blues", take the time to carve out a private moment. Sit down face to face with your partner and check in with how they are managing. Listen to your partner, ask questions to learn more about their response, and then ask if there is anything your partner needs.
Listen to your partner without judgment. Make sure your partner knows that talking with you is somewhere they can feel safe and able to open up, and that no matter what you won't judge them. They should be able to feel comfortable and unafraid to be vulnerable with you.
If you notice your partner's mood changing, ask them about it. You might say, "I noticed you are looking sad today. Has the weather got you down?" Or you could say, "I remember you feel blue during the winter, how are you feeling this year?" Asking your partner how they are doing lets them know you are paying attention to them and that they are a priority to you. It also offers an opportunity to support them by just being there to listen or to sit with them quietly.
Surprise your partner with a cup of tea. Tell your partner you will walk the dog or ask them to go for a long, brisk walk. Listen and empathize with what they are experiencing, and daydream together about what they can do in the Spring.
Show empathy first. Assuming the relationship isn't toxic, initiate Oxytocin-producing engagement, such as laying down with them, holding them, asking if you can put on music the other (preferably both) enjoys. You might consider starting a vitamin D and Omega-3 regimen together (if not already present). Ask when would be a good electronic-free time that the two of you could have together daily. Ask your partner to join you on errands on a sunny day, to walk with you, or help you with a physical chore.
The greatest gift we can give our partners is our undivided time and attention. We so often forget how important and valuable we are to our partners. They need us to be present, to tune into them, and to truly care about what they have to say. Being supportive means putting the phone down, stepping away from the dish-washing, and sitting down, eye-eye to be fully present.
Come up with a surprise adventure. Take time to plan something fun and adventurous with your partner and bring some excitement into their life. Keep in mind what they feel comfortable with and what you can enjoy together.
Take time to connect with your partner and discuss upcoming events. Talk through your plans, how you can prepare for them, and what will help them feel the most relaxed and comfortable. Give your partner your full attention and let them share what they need from you.
The "winter blues" can cause stress on a relationship, and this can be especially true if you aren't sure how to support your partner through this challenging time. The changes in routine, the changes in the weather, and overall different time of year can take it's toll on people, and that may include your partner.
Trying out these tips can help ensure a smoother winter season, and show your partner that you are there to help. Looking for a little accountability? Consider working with one of our relationship coaches.