Are “winter blues” really a thing? According to the NIH, it is a general term and not a medical diagnosis, however, winter blues may be connected to something specific such as the stress of the holidays or missing loved one. It has similar symptoms as those with season affective disorder, which is related to the shortening of daylight hours.
So, what can we do to help kids who seems to have winter blues? Open the window blinds to let light in. Let them spend time with people they trust, like friends, in class. Offer nutritious foods at parties and celebrations. They get enough of the carbs elsewhere. Give them opportunities to move!
Here are a three winter-themed movement breaks you can try this month.
- Have students design 10-14 winter themed matching cards (2 of each). These can be snowmen, candy canes, or whatever reminds them of winter.
- Place cards face down on the desk.
- Students walk throughout the room. When teacher says, “Winter Wonderland!” students flip over two cards, trying to find a match.
- If they find a match, student keeps the cards. If not, they replace cards face down and continue walking.
- Repeat until all cards are claimed.
Santa and the Elf
- Move students into pairs. The object is for one student (Santa) to stay close enough to her partner (Elf) to touch them when the teacher says, “Frozen!”
- No touching when students are moving. Reverse roles after each round.
- Allow 5-20 seconds of movement before freezing class.
- Give each student one card with a winter theme listed (e.g., ice skating, star, snowman). Have them create a yoga pose to go along with the card.
- Parameters: stable posture held for 5 seconds, allows person to breath slowly, can be standing, seated, supine or prone (face up or down).
- Each time you go through Winter Yoga poses, select 5-10 cards and allow students to lead their peers through them (if desired).
Doing these with your students may help lifts your spirits too!
Heather is a Professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion at the University of Kentucky. She is a former physical education teacher, and co-author of Dynamic Physical Education for Secondary School Children, 8ed. Heather was also the recipient of the NASPE Curriculum and Instruction Young Scholar Award and a AAHPERD Research Consortium Fellow.