Turn Winter Blues Into Winter Wins

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Lonely sad woman deep in thoughts

If you feel your energy and mood sinking as the winter carries on, you’re not alone. Each year, seasonal affective disorder affects about 4 to 6 percent of Americans, and as many as 20 percent experience a more mild form of it often called “the winter blues”. Add the ongoing pandemic to these cold, dark days and these blues feel impossible to overcome.

As Americans continue through another winter both indoors and isolated, Life Designer® Ashley Bernardi, trauma and postpartum depression survivor, and author of the highly acclaimed new book Authentic Power: Give Yourself Permission To Feel (The Collective Book Studio. Available Now), has tips to help you overcome the dark days of seasonal depression and the winter blues.

Ashley herself has experienced very dark days. For years, she ignored the trauma, grief, and guilt from the horrifying experience of witnessing the death of her dad as a child, and in her 30s, she suffered from a debilitating mystery illness that left her bedridden and unable to care for her three young children. But it was then in that state of hopelessness that Ashley began to find the true healing and growth she had been searching for her entire life.

“I wrote my book because it was the book I wish I had when I was experiencing my lowest lows,” says Ashley. “As we continue through another winter both indoors and isolated, I hope that my story and the lessons I’ve learned along the way can help others turn their blues into joy.”

Drawing from practical techniques from over 20 healing luminaries and her own personal story of surviving trauma, Ashley tips for overcoming the winter blues, include: 

  • Get out in nature, no matter how cold it may be – Safely bundle up and take your butt outside for a walk. Nature is healing and spending time in it daily will help you appreciate all of the seasons and get you moving!
  • Spend time journaling – Grab a cup of tea and a cozy corner in your house, and give yourself permission to write what you are feeling. Wintertime is a great time for introspection and intention setting. I’ve learned so much about myself by spending time journaling.
  • Embrace your community – In my book I write about the power of connection for healing. Reach out to your friends, family, and community to form like-minded activities such as book clubs, journaling groups, spiritual connections, volunteering, and more.
  • Tap into self-love – Self-love looks different for everyone and there is no one size fits all approach to it. Spend time reflecting on what self-love looks like for you. And recognize that self-love looks different from self-care. Self-love could perhaps be “setting boundaries” or learning to say “no” more often.
  • Make future plans – As we’re settled into our homes more due to cold weather, it’s a great time to dream and plan for the future! Plan a spring hiking trip with friends or family, a beach trip, or even a picnic gathering to celebrate spring! This will give you something to look forward to and surely lift your spirit!

Ashley Bernardi is the founder of powerhouse media relations firm Nardi Media, where she works with corporations, brands, entrepreneurs, and nonprofits in obtaining high-profile placements in broadcast, print, and online media. Trained as a journalist at CBS News, nationally syndicated program energyNOW! on Bloomberg, and Washington Post Live, she has a natural ear for a story and journalist’s passion for research. 

The traumatic death of her father at a young age and diagnosis of Lyme Disease and postpartum depression after the birth of her third child deepened her passion for health, wellness, and spirituality, and taught her how to access her own authentic power to heal her life. She is a certified Life Designer®, and received her certificate in The Science of Well-Being from Yale University. In addition, Ashley hosts the award-winning podcast 2 Girls Talking. 

The oldest child in a proud military family, Ashley was born in Schweinfurt, Germany, and has lived and worked in New York City and Washington, D.C. She currently resides in Northern Virginia with her family. Ashley is a frequently featured expert in the media, including Forbes, Great Day Washington, Good Day DC, and more.

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