Supporting Your Mental Health During A Winter Lockdown

Posted October 26 2020 By Kirsty Leggate
 With tighter COVID restrictions coming into force in many parts of the UK now and the clocks going back at this weekend past, I think it’s fair to say a lot of us are worrying about how we are going to cope through the winter. In a way we’ve been lucky as to when the pandemic first hit the UK. With March – May being the sunniest spring to date, lots of us were out in our gardens or trying to get outside and exercise as much as possible. But now, the cold, dark nights are looming and for the sake of our mental health we need to start being a bit more creative and making more of an effort to look after ourselves when it may not be as appealing to leave the house. Here are some of my top tips for surviving the COVID restrictions during the winter months. Make short term goals One important thing to keep doing when you are more restricted is to make short term goals. We don’t know what’s happening next week, never mind in 3 months’ time and that can be scary for some people but try making short term goals for the next hour, the next day or the next week to focus on and give yourself things to look forward to. Wake up at a normal time Even when it’s dark and you want to sleep for longer, it’s important to stick to your regular sleep times. So make sure you get up around the same time and go to bed at the same time, sleep is so important to your mental health. Turn on your lights first thing in the morning Lack of natural light can have a negative impact on your mood however exposure to artificial light can help so switch on your lights on the dark days and sitting near a window can help as well. Get outdoors Find a way to get comfortable outdoors, whether that’s upgrading your winter gear, investing in an outdoor heater or just stick on your raincoat and wellies and go for a walk in the rain. It may not sound appealing but making more of an effort to get outdoors even when it’s miserable outside will be hugely beneficial. Exercise This feeds on from my last point, however, if you can’t get outside that doesn’t mean you can’t exercise! Invest in an indoor rowing machine, bike, treadmill for those days that you just can’t bear to leave the house. For a more cost-effective solution there are a variety of apps and videos on YouTube etc. that can get you moving indoors. Find what works for you and go with it. Find your Hygge lifestyle The Danish are very used to a long cold, dark winter and so they came up with the concept of Hygge to find joy and happiness during the long dark months. It’s not just about lighting some candles and getting bundled up in your blanket with a cup of hot chocolate (although that doesn’t sound half bad). They also see the benefit of spending time outdoors, Dane’s live by Alfred Wainwright’s well coined phrase “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing” so as I said before, dig out those wellies and get outside! Start cooking! Winter is the ideal time to let your inner chef flourish and try your hand at some new heart-warming and healthy dishes like soups, stews and casseroles. Take on a new hobby You may think you are too busy with work, looking after a family etc. to take on a new hobby but actually it’s a really good way to switch off from the stresses of everyday life and help you unwind. Find what helps you relax and switch off, whether that’s knitting, doing a jigsaw, take up writing, calligraphy, anything that helps you find your calm. However you choose to practice self care, we hope you are all keeping safe and well. If you are struggling and need support, charities such as See Me Scotland, Breathing Space and the Samaritans have great online resources and can still be reached via phone call. HRC Recruitment are currently partnering with Everymind at Work to provide support for our colleagues.
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