Why is your mental wellbeing likely to need some extra attention this winter?
Winter can be a daily slog even at the best of times. It can be harder to get up in the morning because of how cold and dark everything is, exercise you used to do outside can take a hit and all the holiday foods can wreak havoc on your normal diets. With the pandemic still going on, there are some additional issues, which we’ll cover below. We’ll also go into how you can focus on self-care to get you through the colder and darker months.
The pandemic’s long-term effects
Handling the pandemic for its second year can bring up some difficult emotional baggage. In 2020, many of us were feeling like that year was already shot and 2021 would be better. In the year ahead, we would have vaccines and maybe hit herd immunity. At the beginning of 2021, it’s fair to say that everyone was eager to put the horrible experience of 2020 behind us.
However, it’s now winter 2021/22, and Covid hasn’t gone anywhere. New, more contagious variants are making the situation incredibly stressful. Sitting and feeling this frustration for another winter while we’re stuck inside can make for a very difficult experience.
Working from home and isolation
As Covid continues to mutate and cause more uncertainty, many people are still working from home. Working from home certainly isn’t for everyone. A poll of All Things Hair readers revealed that 21% of people said working remotely has negatively affected their overall wellbeing.
Even if you like working from home, it can still be a challenge. If you have other people working or learning from home, you might be working over and around each other’s meetings, video calls and daily routines. If you’ve been working from home for close to two years now, and it hasn’t been your choice, it’s almost inevitable that you’re going to be feeling some frustration and fatigue around that situation.
Winter can make working from home more challenging. It can be harder to get out of the house even for short walks if the snow is piling up, it’s pouring with rain or it’s simply too cold. You might even be less willing to leave the house at all if road conditions are bad. It’s easy for cabin fever and feelings of isolation to set in.
Increased stress and workload
An unfortunate side effect for many people during the pandemic is that working from home has meant more stress and a heavier workload. It’s easy for the barriers between work and home life to erode when you’re working from home.
Some managers or coworkers may know you’re home all day and may be more invasive with their communications. Sometimes people think because you’re spending less time on commutes or in-person office meetings, that means you’re available for more work. Soon, you might be facing a situation of doing too much work from home, with no colleagues there to support you.
As more uncertainty with Covid mutations mounts, you might be tempted to just stay home from the holidays like last year. Some people might even be self-isolating. The Christmas parties we took for granted before the pandemic might not be happening for two years in a row now. That’s where it can really hurt: the feeling that all the festivities are being cancelled again.
If you live with family, you might be doing something small with just the people in your home. But cooking a smaller holiday meal might put you in the mindset of the larger gatherings you used to attend and that could still get you down.
Self-care for the pandemic winter season #2
All these issues with a second pandemic winter are quite serious, but thankfully you can help alleviate some of the pandemic winter blues with some easy self-care. Some ideas for taking care of yourself during the winter include the following ideas.
Diet: Watch your diet and don’t consume too many holiday sweet treats. It might be tempting to go out and buy yourself a whole fruitcake or a party tin of holiday baked goods to try to make up for the fact that you’re missing these things with family and friends. But keep up on the fresh fruits and vegetables, make sure to eat foods with omega-3s and keep up on the B and D vitamins, since these brain- and mood-boosting foods can help you feel your best.
Beauty: You should also keep up on self-care related to your appearance. It can be easy to let yourself go, especially if you’re not going out much and no one is seeing you. However, letting your beauty self-care go can make you feel less in control of your situation and might depress your mood further. So keep up on haircare, like conditioning hair masks, at-home color if you color your hair, a regular wash schedule with quality shampoos and your favorite styling techniques. You should also keep up on other aspects of beauty, like any skin treatments you use, and keep your makeup application skills sharp.
Exercise: Try to have some type of exercise routine in place throughout the winter months. It can give you a boost with those feel-good endorphins. It will also keep you more in shape and allow you to feel like you have more control over the situation. You might use at-home workout videos, get out for some winter sports like snowshoeing if you’re able, use workout equipment at home or have an in-place calisthenics routine.
Hobbies: A good way to break out of a rut is to try a new hobby or have a project going just for you. You might try a craft kit or try a new hairstyling technique, as a couple of examples.
Mental health support: Also, be aware of how these self-care tips help your mood. If you’ve attempted these care tips for a while and you’re still struggling with a depressed mood or anxiety, be sure to reach out and speak to someone, whether it’s a friend, a family member or someone in a professional capacity.
By making your mental wellbeing a priority, the winter might just fly by faster than you think.