As the sudden onset of the coronavirus pandemic came and altered lifestyles, took away livelihoods, and exposed weaknesses, medical experts predicted that there would be a surge in mental health cases. Sure enough, those predictions manifested quickly as millions of Americans reported increased problems with stress, anxiety, and depression. Nine months into the pandemic and days away from the start of winter, experts once again fear the uphill battle with mental health.
The Winter Blues
Winter has always been a difficult season for mental health sufferers. The temperatures have dropped, causing many to remain indoors for months at a time. The gloomy skies and storms evoke emotions of sadness and isolation. The holiday season reminds some people of the loved ones lost over the years, while others feel the pressure to impress guests and purchase elaborate gifts.
When you add a pandemic to these psychological obstacles, it can be challenging to overcome. Sheltering in place and social distancing has kept people isolated from the people, places, and things they once enjoyed. The growing number of coronavirus deaths ultimately increased the number of people grieving during the holidays. Rising unemployment rates make it even harder to purchase gifts or host lavish events for friends and family.
Getting Through The Season
Realizing that the winter blues combined with pandemic stressors could cause a mental health crisis, experts have done what they can to provide sound advice on how to get through the season. Continue reading to learn more.
Identify Your Triggers (And Eliminate Them)
You may not be able to control what’s going on in the world right now, but you can control how you respond to it. A large part of controlling your response boils down to knowing your triggers. When you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed, take a moment to identify the cause.
Once you know what’s causing your emotional overload, you can then take steps to reduce or eliminate the problem. For example, if you get stressed when you think about buying gifts for your children, you can evaluate your budget, determine how much you can spend, and shop for gifts in that price range.
Find Joy In The Little Things
Life may not be going according to plan, but focusing on things you can’t change does nothing for your psyche. If you’re going to get through this season and beyond, you must learn how to find joy in the little things. You might be overwhelmed by working remotely while the kids are getting an education online but eliminating your morning commute made time for you to enjoy a warm cup of coffee before work.
If drinking a cup of coffee in the morning brings peace to your day, make the most of it. Enroll in a coffee subscription, learn how to make some of your favorite hot or cold beverages, and cherish the time you spend enjoying a cup of Joe. Little things like this can lift your spirits and ease anxieties.
Try Things That Add to Your Happiness or Personal Development
There’s nothing worse than spending your days sitting in the house for hours away from everything you know and love. As this practice has been ongoing throughout the pandemic, it will only get worse as winter approaches. Find ways to enjoy life despite your circumstances by doing things that add to your happiness or personal development.
If you’re someone that values family and togetherness, find online activities that you and your loved ones can do to stay connected. Use some of your downtime to invest in your personal or professional development by taking an online course or attending a virtual seminar. Immerse your time in a passion by supporting a cause, volunteering, protesting, donating, starting a blog, or joining an online community.
There is no denying that this winter will be a test of mental strength. As the world continues to deal with a global pandemic and its impact on millions, there will be heightened emotions of stress, anxiety, and depression. Anyone interested in weathering the storm should take precautions like those listed above to strengthen their mental health. If you’re having a difficult time this winter, look for a mental health service provider to assist you.