The year-round population on Martha’s Vineyard is nearly 17,000, and in the summer months that number climbs to more than 100,000, attracting tourists and seasonal residents from around the world. To some, this time of year on Martha’s Vineyard is a mystery, filled with questions about what life must be like in the off-season.
“What do you do all winter?”
“Isn’t everything closed?”
“Does the Island get snow?”
The answers are simple – winters on Martha’s Vineyard aren’t much different from anywhere else in New England. Beaches offer a peaceful oasis for walks and several restaurants host winter specials, live music and community events. When the occasional snowfall hits, photographers are quick to capture snow-covered dunes, quiet main streets and Island landmarks.
Just like Boston, New York and Maine, the days are shorter and grey skies outnumber sunshine. Wherever you live, the winter blues can have an impact on your everyday life. With more time indoors and less sunlight, it is easy to feel less motivated, sad or tired.
We connected with clinicians at our Island Counseling Center to put together six winter wellness tips to help you get through these long months.
6 Tips for Winter Wellness
- Connect with friends and family: coffee dates, old fashioned phone calls
- Use or rent a “light box” at the OB library to help treat seasonal depression
- Incorporate healthy foods (fruits, vegetables, nuts) into your diet and cut out processed food. Island Grown Initiative’s Winter Mobile Market makes this accessible and affordable.
- Spend time in nature: check out a new trail or download the Trails MV app
- Try the Danish art of Hygge (getting cozy): lighting candles, drinking hot chocolate/tea, warming up with a blanket or by a fire
- Practice mindfulness meditations: self-compassion, non-judgment, and attention to present sensations
Winter blues or seasonal depression?
It is important to note that there is a difference between the winter blues and seasonal depression. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons, typically starting in the late fall and early winter and going away during the spring or summer. Times to seek professional support include:
- Symptoms interfering with functioning, difficulty getting out of bed, getting to work, not socializing with others etc.
- Symptoms causing distress or suffering
- Thoughts of self-harm or suicidal ideation
If you or a loved one is struggling, support is available.
If you or a loved one is struggling with feelings of depression or suicidal thoughts, professional support is available. Below are the steps to take to initiate therapy at MV Community Services.
- Call our Island Counseling Center at 508-693-7900 x290
- From there, our intake coordinator will set up an initial evaluation, collect personal info, such as health insurance, date of birth and reason for seeking counseling
- If you’d prefer to fill out a personal information form online, click here. If you fill out the online form vs. calling – an intake coordinator will call you back to set up an initial evaluation