Do you want to find ways to be happier, healthier, and more motivated during the cold, winter months? Are these feelings of depression, uncertainty, and anxiety affecting your life due to Covid-19? You are not the only one and you are not alone. Our normal routines are completely different. People are getting sick with Covid-19, people are suffering financially, and the mental health crisis continues to grow. Embracing the darkness of winter is never easy, but it can lead us closer to the light.
Here are some tips on how to cope with seasonal stress and change:
- Self-Care. The only person who can truly take care of ourselves at the end of the day is us. Healing, peace, and happiness evolve from within us, not outside of us. That doesn’t mean reaching out for support is wrong. When we need help, reaching out to our loved ones or professionals is aiding in our self-care. Just try not to rely on outside forces to be the ultimate cause of happiness or healing. Remember: They assist us in our journey. They won’t be the ones to save us; we have the power to do so ourselves.
Ways to increase self-care:
- Wake up and refrain from using any technology right away. Tune into yourself and how you are feeling. Set intentions for how you want your day to be. Give thanks for all that you are grateful for. Have a loving conversation with yourself like you would a friend or family member. This really sets the mood for how your day will go because you didn’t put all of your attention on the news or social media right away, but you put your focus on you.
- Move your body! Our minds tend to get over-crowded with emotions, traumas, stresses, and anxieties. Physically moving our body benefits our mental well-being and can be our medication to fighting depression. Mind and body health go hand-in-hand. Going for walks, stretching, doing jumping jacks for a few minutes throughout the day, or dancing to music are fun and easy ways to release our physical and mental stress.
- Drink lots of water. Water flushes out toxins in our body and keeps the oxygen flowing smoothly. Our bodies are made up of mostly water!
- Do something every day that makes you feel good. Boost your mood by taking a relaxing bath, watching your favorite show, or reading a book. After all, it is your life! Live it how you want to.
2. Light up your life. Whether you get outside for a wintery walk when the sun is shining, or you place a vitamin-D lamp in your home, you should try to absorb as much light as you can. The lack of sunlight can cause major mood changes. We only get so much sunlight living in Western, New York!
3. Cook healthy meals. Pass the time away by cooking and baking well-balanced meals. Eat foods rich in nutrients. Our guts and our brains are connected, so when we over-do the poor eating, our brains might become foggy, slow, and stressed. Look up healthier alternatives for recipes. Sometimes, the difference can be as small as switching out simple ingredients to ones that are better for us. You don’t have to skip out on the sweet treats, but be aware of how much you are taking in. A well-balanced diet can lead us to live happier and healthier lives. Without over-doing the cookies, we can indulge in them with acceptance and respect for ourselves. Enjoy treats if you are going to eat them, but don’t include the negative self-talk.
4. Take vitamins. Especially vitamin D, which us Western New Yorker’s lack in the winter. Other helpful vitamins to take are vitamin B’s, omegas, multivitamins, magnesium, and zinc.
5. Listen to music. Turning on your favorite tunes can amplify your mood by a lot. Singing along can boost your mood too! It’s a great way to release negative toxins in the body.
6. Bundle up and get outdoors! This is a completely natural way to cope with depression, anxiety, mental illness, or drug use. With nothing but ourselves and nature, it’s a wonderful combination to feeling good and mentally clear. It’s especially hard to do our normal and fun activities during the pandemic, so spending time outside can replace them.
7. Connect with your loved ones. Schedule times to gather online, spontaneously call up a friend, or send letters to people from far away! It can be really hard to not see people during the pandemic. Being isolated and coping with mental illness or addiction can be extremely debilitating. Let your loved ones know how you’re doing by checking in.
8. Set your boundaries with friends and family members. When a pandemic is going on, it’s especially important to set your boundaries. Don’t feel bad for saying no to your loved ones. If you don’t have the energy to pick up a phone call, that’s okay. Don’t over-extend yourself to others when you don’t feel capable. People might not agree with the boundaries you set, but you can feel peace knowing you are doing what’s best for
9. Set daily goals, even if they are small and simple. At the end of the day, you can check them off and feel good about what you’ve accomplished. Also, refrain from saying “I should” or “I have to” when it comes to completing tasks. This creates more restriction. Instead, use phrases like, “I can work out today” or “I have the option to clean the house.” But still give yourself a time limit on when to complete certain pressing tasks.
10. Finally, be okay with being bored. During a pandemic in the winter can make us extremely bored, which can lead to reaching for negative coping outlets. We live in a culture of so much “doing.” It’s looked down upon if we aren’t keeping busy or staying entertained. The truth is, we need to be more okay with just “being.” That can mean curling up with a warm blanket, mug of tea, and watching the snow fall outside your window. It’s okay to be bored.
It’s a very difficult time for the world right now. If you are struggling to find the support you need, do not hesitate to reach out for help. Our mental health and addiction recovery services remain open and serving Western, New York during Covid-19.
Overdoses, suicide rates, and domestic violence cases have rapidly increased since the beginning of the pandemic. It’s one of the most challenging times in the history for the world, and you don’t have to go through it alone. Our team is prepared and ready to help you through the challenges and achieve your life’s goals.
Call us today to schedule an appointment with a therapist or drug addiction counselor at (716) 895-6701.
We support you. We believe in you.
By Jocelyn Grimaldi