EMBRACING THE DARK WORKING WINTER AHEAD
The concept of a winter lockdown sends many of us into a sheer state of apprehension. It’s not all doom and gloom, but wintertime is commonly associated with cold, dark days, and with the potential of another lockdown, there are concerns about how to cope during this period.
With remote working looking more likely for most for the current time, creating a healthy working environment and ensuring a balance between home and work life is a necessity now more than ever. Having the ability to escape to the outdoors and exercise in other environments has made the challenges of the pandemic easier to endure. But with the night’s drawing in, what techniques should we be applying to maintain a balanced state of mind?
With the winter months fast approaching, more people begin to slide into a stage of a depressive mindset, yearning for the warmer, longer hours of daylight that many were lucky to have over the lockdown period. We need to prepare for the onset of winter, the impact it has on our wellbeing and be ready (and willing) to explore the benefits and opportunities available over the coming months. And look on the bright side, at least this year you need not worry about trick or treaters or the melodic sounds of carol singers on your doorstep.
The winter can be a challenging time, particularly with the implications of the pandemic and the potential of further lockdown measures. In many countries, shorter days are associated with lethargy and low mood levels, causing what is known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). It’s clear that our society is quite vulnerable to our changing environment, yet we can implement coping mechanisms, and create a mindset that yields both resilience and positivity.
Lessons to learn from the Nordic Region
This aspect of psychological resilience is particularly visible in the Nordic region and is something that can provide valuable lessons for us all residing in the UK. Transitioning this level of fear and stress related to the looming winter months into individual challenges is a mindset change that we are all capable of doing. Whatever way the pandemic is impacting you, we should consider it as an opportunity to adapt and learn in new conditions.
Is it in your head?
It can be easy to fall into the category of those that dread the winter months, but there are ways of creating your coping mechanisms. Many people do resent the winter months and believe there is little they can do to improve their time during this period. But if you focus on mindset and ways of managing it, then it becomes quite clear that we can empower our feelings towards the winter. Adopting a positive winter outlook can significantly improve the situation over the coming months and make a potential second lockdown far more manageable.
Continue to embrace the outdoor life
Continue to embrace the outdoor life
Okay, it may not be as appealing when the days are dark, wet and cold but we need to get outdoors. Exercising outdoors is critical to our health and wellbeing. And the mindset approach does have a part to play. Running in the cold and rain is very exhilarating. Take cold water swimming, for example. Outdoor swimming is something that has grown considerably, mainly due to people realising the impacts it has on their health, wellbeing and state of mind – and possibly heightened even more during the winter when the elements may be at their harshest.
Katy Griffin, the founder of Thera-Sea who operates wellbeing retreats in Cornwall, explains that she created her business primarily due to the rising number of degenerative diseases and mental disorders related to increased stress levels and unhealthy lifestyles. “We reconnect people with the natural environment and bring health and wellbeing back to basics” explains Katy. “Our retreats are based on six key lifestyles of medicine:- exercise, relaxation, purpose, sleep hygiene, nutrition and healthy relationships”.
The pandemic has had an impact on the quality of life and personal wellbeing, but there are several coping mechanisms that people have used to maintain a healthy balance.
Creating a structured working environment
For those working from home, creating a structured office or work station and ensuring sufficient time for breaks, exercise and homelife is a necessity. Continuing to eat well, and generally look after personal health is something that often gets overlooked, but in reality, must remain a top priority.
Only the individual can channel a positive outlook of a particular situation. Even in these challenging times, we need to explore the opportunities, embrace the potential of learning new skills, spend more time with family and utilise the added time to exercise more. A resilient and positive mindset is what is paramount during the winter months.
Adapting to the darker days
The shorter, darker days are inevitable, and so we should be readily prepared and capable of adapting our lifestyle and interests to what is possible during this time. Use the winter to embrace something new, continue to maintain a good diet, sleep well and spend as much time as you can with family. Keep positive and ensure you balance all of this to enable a productive workflow.
Eat Healthily, Stay Healthy
Looking after yourself and your health must remain a top priority, particularly throughout the winter months. Our nutrition and diet can be ignored when balancing home and work life. Sara Jackson, a Registered Nutritional Therapist and Naturopath, founder of SJ Health, provides wellness programmes that aim to empower people to live and breathe a healthy lifestyle. Through a combination of practical tips, recipes and lifestyle support, Sara offers nutritional guidance that has proven to transform the health and lifestyle of many people. Sara’s recommendations to strengthen and improve your immune system and fight off the winter bugs include: