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Annika_H for SinnerSchrader Engineers

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Self Care isn’t Selfish ❤️ Mental Health Tips for the Winter months (in a Global Pandemic)

There is no question that this year has been challenging for all of us. When we all stayed home in the beginning of the year a lot of us found ways to make the best of the situation, stay in touch with our friends and families, take walks and try to enjoy the sunshine as much as we could when spring came in March/April. When the summer came things relaxed. A lot of us went back to the office from time to time, had lunch outside physically distanced with colleagues and just recharged their batteries. I’m pretty sure that I am not the only one who doesn’t like the dark season. When it gets colder and darker we spend more time in our homes again. After all, it’s scientifically proven that we need light and the sun in order to stay happy, healthy and energized. However, I’m sure that there are ways to make the following months more bearable with a few tips:

Regular Exercise 🏓

Exercising and getting those steps in is definitely harder when told to stay at home. However, it is super important for your mental and physical health to move around. Even if you’re not an active person, try to go on walks at least once a day, preferably when it’s light outside.

Use flexible working hours (if possible) ⏰

In summer, there are still a couple of light hours after work in the evenings. Now we start working when it’s dark and we stop working when it’s dark. Some days even seem like it’s dark all the time. One of the perks of working from home is that we can have a more flexible working schedule to some extent. This is why you might want to think about extending your lunch break to go outside when it’s light outside or start a little later to see some daylight or even sunlight.

Get yourself a daylight lamp 💡

Unfortunately, those days that feel like nights are inevitable in winter times. But that doesn’t mean that you have to say bye to feeling energetic because some smart person invented daylight lamps. Just some minutes of their light help improve your focus, boost your mood, and support a healthy sleep cycle.

Healthy Diet/Food/Vitamins 🍋

It’s true what they say: “You are what you eat”. Our bodies need a balanced nutrition in order to function and it’s no secret either that the body and mind are in some way connected. Consequently, it’s important to take many vitamins in the form of fruits and veggies, for instance. That doesn’t mean that we have to stop eating our favorite chocolate or other foods that maybe aren’t considered that healthy because after all, all that is soul food.

Self Care 🛁

Self-care is something very individual and means something else for everyone. It can be a bubble bath with candles in the evening, a walk in the park, watching a movie, a face mask, taking a nap, meditating etc. Basically, all you have to do is take care of yourself and do something that makes you happy and do it ONLY for yourself. You deserve quality time!

Open Communication & Check-In with colleagues 💬

Communication is key. Particularly in those times when we don’t see each other in person all the time. It’s okay not to be okay and you can always try to let your colleagues or some dedicated person from work know if you’re struggling because it’s hard for others to assume how you are feeling. If you have a bad day or just cannot focus and feel overwhelmed share this with others. Also check in with your colleagues regularly to find out how they are doing, too.

Create Healthy Routines 🗓

Structure and routines are vital in times like these because we don’t get up every morning to get dressed and commute to work like we used to. With the days getting shorter, it’s even more difficult to stay motivated and focused. Therefore, it can be helpful to find new routines like journaling, doing yoga before work or maybe just sit down and have breakfast before turning on your computer.

Reach out to Friends you haven’t heard from in a long time ☎️

In many countries it’s not possible to see friends normally right now. Obviously, meeting your loved ones is super important for your well-being which is why we should try to stay connected virtually. Why not reach out to friends you haven’t heard from in a long time? Or create a routine and have a little chat with one of your friends or family members every other night? It always feels good to catch up and check in.

Support your Locals if you can 🛍

Supporting your locals is good for you and for others. You can get out to grab a coffee to go and support your local café at the same time. This could make you feel better because you have a reason to leave the house and help others who are in need right now.

Social Media & News Detox 🗞

Constantly checking the news and your social media feeds can be extremely stressful. Believe me when I say that putting your phone away for awhile won’t stop the world from turning and it’s good for you to distance yourself from negative headlines for a couple of hours. You will notice that you won’t miss anything super important and that you might be able to actually relax a little bit and get your mind off of everything that’s happening right now in the world.

There are many ways to get through the winter and these are just some suggestions. The most important thing is to listen to your body and mind and don’t be too hard on yourself.

Discussion (6)

marissab profile image
Marissa B

Living in Fargo ND we go months at a time below zero in the winter, but you get used to it. Having greenery and plants in the house/office is a huge help as well. I even went as far as having a grow tent for veggies in the winter - having a mini room of summer is a wonderful escape.

annika_h profile image
Annika_H Author

Oh yeah, I definitely agree! Plants in the house bring so much joy and watering them regularly also results into another routine which is great :)

nicolasomar profile image
Nicolás Omar González Passerino

I think having people who can reach time by time to talk about that stuff helps a lot to get through a bad day/week.
I planned a work change for may of this year and I had to pospone it until the crisis passes, so I talked a lot with some of my coworkers and close friends, as well as I analyzed the "why" of my decision and came to a better resolution that before.
So, the pandemic was difficult for me because I had to reschedule an important objective, but I had a great outcome after talking about my problems with my the people I trust.

You always can ask for an advice or just for a talk.
You are not alone in this situation.

annika_h profile image
Annika_H Author

I'm totally with you there! Communication is one of the most important things and speaking out your thoughts aloud always helps to see everything more clearly!

cirphrank profile image

Thanks for these tips, much appreciated.

annika_h profile image
Annika_H Author

You're very welcome :)