Hope through winter and covid-19

As we head into the coming months the likelihood for overarching anxiety, depression, stress and overall feelings of being stuck are likely to accumulate. My husband said to me, as the sun was going down at 430pm, wow these next few months are going to be challenging. I know that this challenge won’t just be for me, we need more reminders of hope and connection.

What to keep an eye out for

Seasonal depression is common, especially in states in places with longer winters. This year we have the added isolation of COVID apon us. Be mindful of your overall wellbeing on a week by week basis. You can do this through journaling, mood tracking or doing daily meditation practices. The goal is to provide yourself awareness where the feeling of being stuck and isolated are kicking in the most.

As you build this awareness look out for different struggles. These may be: increasingly negative view of the world, spending long periods of time watching TV or playing on your phone, feeling disconnected and unmotivated to do anything, or slipping out of patterns of healthy routines.

When we are able to build awareness of these above signals we can in turn work on building increased resilience to support ourselves.

What can I do?

Create a plan for yourself, if you know the coming months may be challenging it may be time to find new ways to increase your self care. Here are a list of things you could think about:

  1. Pick up a new hobby, or something creative. Grab a few paint by numbers or coloring books to find additional activities that were indoors but not watching TV.
  2. Start a new mindfulness routine. Do you engage in daily journaling? Utilize an app that helps you to remember to meditate such as insight timer.
  3. Create a self nourishing list that helps give you options when you really don’t know or can’t think of what to do for yourself.
  4. Find a virtual fitness group to join. Bonus – you get to connect with others!
  5. Schedule an appointment with a therapist. You don’t need to be in a crisis to see a therapist. The best time to reach out and find a good fit is when you are in a healthier place. This way you can wait a little while to see the right person for you. Also, you are being preventative and by the time of your appointment, you will have some things you can work on.
  6. Create a check in plan with friends. Let your friends know of your red flags so they can support you and keep you accountable when you are struggling.
  7. Get moving and keep moving. Movement is so crucial for our overall mental wellbeing.
  8. Create a self-compassion mantra. Come up with a statement that helps you validate where you are (& your struggles) and know that you will be okay.

Hope – Remembering we will get through this

It gets easy in the winter months to feel lost and with COVID and isolating this will be more common. You aren’t alone in these struggles and there is hope. We will get through this, we need to care for one another and ourselves. Although the suggestions above may not make you feel bright and shiny this winter they can help you in moving through the winter.

Lean into support from others and yourself. Start working on addressing routines now so they are easier to maintain in the winter months.

You got this,
Patrice Flanagan-Morris, LCSW

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