Minding Your Mental Health This Winter

Just when we thought we had survived the worst of lockdown dismay, we find ourselves faced with a new assault on our mental health: the dreary days of winter. On top of the sadness many of us have dealt with as a result of pandemic restrictions, we could soon face SAD: seasonal affective disorder, the depression that hits many during the winter months.

How can we cope? Some experts believe we can take tips from people who have survived disasters. Here are four lessons you can learn from them to stay stronger this season:

Look for warning signs. If you or someone close to you experiences sleep disruptions, irritability, appetite changes or an inability to concentrate for more than a week, your mental health might have slipped beyond unhappiness into depression.

Accept anxiety. We tend to think we’re weak if we feel anxious about our circumstances, but anxiety is not the problem … ignoring anxiety is. Acknowledge and address your stress. Burying it will only make things worse.

Seek connection. Sure, connecting with others has been an ongoing struggle this year, but now is the time to get even more creative and determined about feeding our relationships. Survivors of disaster have often dealt with their feelings of loss by reaching out.

Pay attention to yourself. Don’t stress about what might happen tomorrow. Instead, focus on how you are feeling now. Create strength and contentment in this moment, and you’ll be better equipped to confront what’s next.

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