The cold weather will put our mental fitness to the test this year, so here are some ways to prepare for the challenge. Waking up to several centimetres of snow or a grey raining day shows us that there is no doubt winter's on its way.
With the days becoming colder and shorter, experts have been trying to get the message out that we all need to prioritize our mental health as the pandemic drags on. So what are the best ways to do that?
Do The 'Dance of Compassion'
What does this mean? It is Ok to be vulnerable right now. The only mask you should be wearing is a medical one. Discard the mask of not being vulnerable.
It's important for people who are used to performing at a high level — both at work and in their personal lives — to accept that might not be possible right now.
What we know is that right now, is that life is full of uncertainty. COVID protocals are changes every two or three weeks, or even sometimes daily. So you really need to learn to have this dance of compassion and be flexible.
Grieve Your Losses
We need to give ourselves time to grieve our losses, whether it's the loss of a loved one, a job or a way of life.
Part of coping with the pandemic is being able to have that Kleenex, acknowledge our losses and cry those tears. This is especially important for children, who need to be able to express their sadness at how life is right now.
Oftentimes as parents, we don't want our kids to suffer. So we try to put a brave face on the situation and say things like, “It could be worse,” or, “Let's try and think some happy thoughts.” Instead acknowledge your child's disappointment then redirect them to look on the bright side of life.
Get Better Sleep
In trying times it is important to be aware of your mental health. Try journalling in order to put your emotions or what is bothering you down somewhere. Thoughts and emotions can interfere with your sleep if they are not settled.
If you write it down ... that's a way of processing it and putting it aside so then you can get to bed and get the rest you need.
It's so important to get enough sleep, exercise, and also to make an effort to eat properly.
Take Up A Hobby
You need to take time for yourself: go for a walk, take a five-minute break to stretch or breath deeply, read an inspirational book or take up a hobby. Schedule it in, just like you'd schedule other important activities.
It's not about the end product. It's about the process. Finding creativity within yourself allows for mindfulness.
Embrace Winter Activities
Looking at winter through the eyes of a child can make it easier to accept some of the harsher realities of the season. Try to see the potential for fun. Go out and make our Canadian winter the best winter ever possible. Let's be brave and courageous around outdoor play, whether it's a walk, going to the rink, or organizing some games outdoors.
If you need help, please do not hesitate to get the help you need.