Alterations in the weather can affect one’s disposition, outlook, and motivation. The winter blues can have a significant impact on both our emotional and physical well-being, particularly when coupled with the consequences of an extended lockdown and the steady stream of negative news. Maintaining your self-care routines throughout the winter months, especially when the weather is cooler, is going to be extremely important. As the cold weather approaches, here are some ways to nurture your mind, body, and soul.
The State of One’s Mind
The Seasonal Affective Affective Disorder Advisory Group (SADAG) estimates that every winter, it affects half a million people. Depression, anxiousness, extreme fatigue, social withdrawal, binge eating, sleep problems, weight gain, and trouble concentrating are among the symptoms. Even though this condition is only clinically identified in 2% to 3% of the population, many of us suffer from at least one of its symptoms during the colder months of the year.
Self-care and maintaining a conscious awareness of one’s mental health should be ongoing priorities throughout the entire year and this includes strategies and insights for overcoming stigma and shame associated with mental health treatment. However, keeping a journal of your feelings and behaviors throughout the winter can assist in the treatment of symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) as well as other mental health conditions.
Your psychological health may be suffering as a result of being held in confinement for nearly two months. Your anxiety levels may rise as we move into a new and potentially unpredictable phase of lockdown. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are in a continual state of being forced to adjust to the world around us, which isn’t always an easy task.
Enhancing how you care for yourself while you are in a lockdown can not only help you get ready to re-enter the real world, but it is also a good opportunity to establish self-care as a routine part of your life. Here are some self-care habits to try out this winter, whether you are hibernating or braving the elements, armed with hand sanitizer, as appropriate:
Journaling for the Mind and the Soul
Writing in your diary does not necessarily have to be focused on feelings all the time. If you have a personality type that is centered on logic, you should think about keeping a journal in which you make to-do lists or goals for yourself. Your mind will be able to absorb the data more logically if you lay out your obligations in a more practical way gaining strategies and tools for maintaining a progressive healthy lifestyle. You should understand your limitations and abilities better than anybody else, so you should be the one to set realistic goals for yourself. Taking things one day at a time is a much more productive strategy than attempting to accomplish everything at once, so be sure to keep your attention on the steps you’ve taken toward achieving your goals rather than the result.
The use of a bullet journal is an efficient way to record information such as one’s eating patterns, feelings, and to-do lists. Create your mood tracker so you can figure out what may be causing your negative thinking patterns or self-destructive behaviors and how to stop them. Increasing your level of self-awareness will help you feel more in charge of your feelings, which will in turn boost your confidence and make it easier to deal with your worries. These days, bullet journals are widely available and can be purchased at virtually any stationery store.
Use Your Imagination
How frequently do you discover yourself wishing that you had more time to devote to the activities that bring you joy? You have arrived at the most advantageous moment to launch your endeavor! Even during times of lockdown, a significant number of us put our jobs or our obligations to our families ahead of our health and safety. Create some time in your schedule to accomplish something artistic just for you.
It can be anything, from preparing your go-to meal to taking an online art course or knitting a colorful scarf for yourself to wear during the colder months. Start a new do-it-yourself project if you consider yourself more handy than artistic. Nevertheless, make it a point to see it through to the end; nothing is more discouraging to one’s spirit than a project that hasn’t been completed.
Find a Cause That Matters More To You
One of the best ways to broaden one’s perspective and increase one’s capacity for empathy is to establish a connection with a greater power, whatever that term may mean to the individual. Even if you have no interest in religion or spirituality, devoting even a short amount of time each day to meditating and practicing mindful thinking can do miracles for your psychological health.
During the lockdown, you should become fully present in the here and now and, rather than focusing exclusively on yourself, look outward to determine how you can assist others who are in need. Consider offering your time as a volunteer to deliver food packages and medications to people who are in need if you are physically able to do so. You can get involved in a wide variety of community activities and campaigns to help make a difference, even if it’s only on a small scale.
Get Your Body Moving and Spend Some Time Outside
A healthy dose of sunlight is one of the simplest and least expensive ways to treat the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This winter, make an effort to spend time outside, whether it’s for a run around the neighborhood in the wee hours of the morning or a session of yoga practiced inside the house in the backyard garden. Even if you have to brave the early morning chill, it will be well worth it when you consider the benefits of exercising, which include an increase in natural endorphins and exposure to fresh air. Ensure that you include time in your schedule for activities that take place outside if you work from home. You could take your dog for a walk, bask in the sun, or get some work done in the garden. It’s about giving your mind (and the limits of your home) a break so that you can focus on working out your body instead.
It’s All About the Food
A rise in appetite for sugar and starchy foods is among the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). According to several studies, these categories of food may contribute to an increase in allergy sensitivity, inflammatory processes, and even anxiety. This winter, try eating more vegetables and pulses, slow-releasing proteins, and vegetables to control your appetite and curb your cravings.
Making a wholesome soup dish is an excellent way to get a lot of nutrients into your diet in a single dish. However, you should stay away from soups that are loaded with cream. Instead of using flour, try thickening your beverage with grated carrot or tomato puree. There is some evidence that supplementing with natural anti-inflammatory ingredients like ginger or turmeric could be helpful in the battle against seasonal depression.
Bread is, without a doubt, the most ideal food to eat alongside any kind of soup. Sourdough and rye bread are better choices than ciabatta and french loaf because they have a higher glycemic index and release their carbohydrates more slowly. So, don’t reach for those kinds of bread. However, we are aware that making your sourdough loaf from scratch can be a time-consuming and puzzling process. Woolworths sells bread that is made entirely of rye and is gluten-free.
Have a Restful Night
The last item on the list of ways to take care of yourself is sleep, but it is by no means the least important. Everyone is aware of how essential it is to get between seven and nine hours of sleep a night. Yet how many of us are successful in doing so? Ensure that there is adequate airflow in the room so that you can turn your bedroom into a paradise. Additionally, make an effort to turn off any nearby bright lights. If you suffer from seasonal allergies, it is possible that your breathing will be affected while you are sleeping, which will cause you to be restless. Invest in a humidifier as well as an air purifier for your home. For more information about sleep patterns here.