As an anxious person, I can’t help but feel dread at the shorter days coming sooner than I would like them to. If you have experienced anxiety then you know it is not rational. Thankfully my anxiety is not so severe that I cannot function but it’s there and it creeps out.
Growing up I was not aware that the change of seasons could lead to depression. I grew up in France in the 80s/90s and I cannot recall one mention about seasonal affective disorder. Thankfully we are more aware of these sorts of things now and can take steps to mitigate their effects.
The Ancient Greeks, Chinese and Indians were very aware of the effect winter darkness could take on our mood with some already using sunlight therapy as far back as the 2nd century BC.
I have known this about myself for the past few years which has helped me freak out less and create coping strategies during the winter months:
1. Spend time outside as much as you can
No matter what we read in glossy magazines there is still a long way to go for businesses to take mental health seriously. If they were then employers would encourage daily walks during working hours, especially in the winter months. Sometimes you need to take matters into your own hands! Don’t ask for permission – just choose a time each day and get out. You will feel like a different person when you return.
2. Keep a journal
You don’t have to write all your inner thoughts if you don’t feel like it, your notebook could be your place to get creative and dream. It always soothes me.
3. Offer the same generosity of spirit to yourself as you would to a dear dear friend
Expecting the same level of productivity during a global pandemic in winter is simply unrealistic. If you can manage to complete even a few important things then reward yourself.
I would love to hear about your winter coping mechanisms. Please add a comment below.