Winter can be a challenging time to keep our spirits up, to keep motivated and to remain positive. Add grief into the mix and it can exacerbate issues of isolation, depression and poor self-care. We have put together some simple self-care tips to help avoid these winter woes;
1. Enjoy the Sunshine
Get outside and enjoy the winter sunshine – open the blinds and let the sun shine into your home/work. This can help to increase your Vitamin D and Serotonin levels helping you to avoid feelings of tiredness, irritability and the ‘blues’.
2. Express your Grief
Spending a lot of time inside can bring about restlessness, irritability, difficult emotions and even negative memories. Finding constructive ways to exercise your mind, like puzzles, movies, home repairs, calling a friend or journal writing can be really helpful.
3. Accept Care from Others
It is common for grieving people to withdraw from others when feeling down and unfavourable weather can make this more likely. Frequent isolation and loneliness can have a negative impact on both physical and emotional health. Try to get out on a regular basis to the shops, a support group, a club or a friend’s house. When possible, it’s worth pushing yourself to go, even though it’s cold outside.
4. Get Physical
Try to get at least 20 minutes of exercise a day by going for a brisk walk, using an exercise DVD, planning an indoor routine or joining a gym. Winter weather reduces the opportunities for exercise but we know that even a small amount of exercise can impact your physical and emotional health.
5. Be Mindful with Food
Winter can be associated with ‘comfort eating’ due to the cold weather, this is also commonly magnified with grief. Eating because you feel sad or eating out of boredom can result in large weight gains. Try to eat mindfully and consider what and why you are eating.
Remember, your mood can be affected by the Seasons. Some people even suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of depression characterised by symptoms such as low energy, irritability, heaviness in the limbs, appetite changes and hypersensitivity to rejection. If you think this may be an issue for you, it is best to talk with your doctor about your concerns.