I usually find Winter to be quite difficult. Not only can the lack of sunlight be troublesome, but the Winter months seem to be full of events that trigger anxiety for me and when it gets to about September, I start to worry about the months to follow. First there's Halloween, then there's bonfire night, then there's Christmas, then there's new year. All this really means for me is more chance of getting ill and an added pressure to 'go out and do things' and be happy. Here are my tips for looking after your mental health in the Winter months.
Try to keep at least some routine. I always find that the Festive season can be a bit troublesome because I have just over a week off work. I'm sure anybody else would absolutely love the idea of 10 days off but for me, the lack of routine makes things really difficult. I find that the days all blur together and I lose track of where I am and what I'm doing. This year I've tried to plan out some days so that I know exactly what I'm dealing with. I'm even going into work for two days!
Do more of what you enjoy. As it gets darker and colder, a lot of us fall victim to the 'Winter blues.' When you suffer from a mental illness this becomes doubly difficult so at this time it's really important to try to increase the amount of time spent on things that we actually enjoy doing. Going for walks, reading and writing are all things that I try to spend more time doing in Winter. I also find meditation really helpful, particularly when it comes to dealing with anxiety.
Get enough sleep and water! I feel like we underestimate the value of getting enough sleep. I always find that after a bad night's sleep I'm ten times more anxious the next day so I try to get at least eight hours every night anyway, but even more so in Winter. Don't forget to stay hydrated and drink as much water as you can because all these things, although simple, do make a difference.
Lamps and candles
Going to work when it's dark and getting home when it's dark can sometimes make you feel like you're living in constant darkness so I find a bit of calm lighting really helpful. Lighting a few candles or using a lamp instead of a big light can help to create a less harsh, calmer atmosphere which can help me to relax.
Take each day at a time and remember that every single day is a new chance and a new start. This is actually something that I remind myself of all year round. I have managed to teach myself that one bad day does not dictate a whole week. I know that when I go to sleep after an awful day, the morning will be brighter. Always try to see the 'light at the end of the tunnel' because it's always there. Every single day, it's there. Sometimes you just have to look a bit harder.