7 ways to make the coming winter months easier to deal with

With winter coming in the backdrop of a global pandemic, it might feel like too much. Here are 7 ways to make it a little easier to handle


When lockdown came in March, it couldn't have come at a better time.

Now I don't mean that what the world needed was a global pandemic on top of everything else – what I mean is its timing.

It came in the spring.

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The best time of year.

We noticed every little detail of the seasons changing. We watched as leaves sprouted and turned a brilliant green. We heard the birds and witnessed flowers in bloom. The days got longer and the expectation of summer was always with us. We were more positive back then. Because there was rebirth and everything seemed possible.

"It won't last long," we said.

"It will be back to normal by September," they said.

Well, now it's September and normality is still not within our grasp. We face a long winter. Cold days and long nights now mix with our current reality. Socialising is not the same; events we looked forward to cancelled, and the general fear and panic with coronavirus are following us daily.

People are apprehensive and scared about what is to come over the winter months.

However, there are ways to prepare and means to take of yourself during the colder months.

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Routine

During the summer, many of us would have experienced routine shifts. With more time spent outside and restrictions lifted, the routines we nailed down during lockdown no longer existed. As the days grow shorter, routine has never been more critical. Whether it's getting up at a specific time, making a list, journaling or exercising, ensure you have daily activties that make your day better. In an uncertain world, your routine is one thing you can control.

Be present

More complicated in practice than it sounds, being present is one of the best ways to stay calm during unprecedented times such as these. Worrying about the past and future won't help you. Being mindful and present allows you to feel more relaxed and at ease, even when unpleasant surprises come your way. It also aids concentration and focus,  improves listening and memory skills and can help distinguish what is essential and what is not. Some of the best ways to practice mindfuless include meditation, exercise and breathwork.

Limit social media and news

We live in a 24-hour newsroom. Whether it's from the papers, the TV, or your Twitter feed, it's a lot for a brain to handle. While it has never been more important to listen to trusted news sources for updates, too much is unhealthy. Limit your consumption to one news bulletin in the morning or evening and cap social media usage to one hour. Your mind will notice the difference.

Exercise

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A walk on a gloomy November night in the pelting rain may not be top of your list, but exercise will significantly improve your well-being during these times. Not only does it help your physical body, it protects your mind too. Choose something you enjoy like a socially distanced exercise class or simply go for a stroll. No one has ever said they regretted a walk, and I promise, you won't either.

Stay in contact with family and friends

Winter can highlight feelings of isolation, so maintaining connections with family and friends is vital. We may have to limit our social contacts, but if lockdown taught us anything, we are lucky to have many ways to communicate with loved ones.

Self-care

Self-care is a buzzword, but right now, it's crucial to our general well-being. Self-care comes in many forms, but the most effective is the method that suits you. It could be as simple as a bath or a trip to the cinema, but once it makes you feel at ease and happy, make sure to do more of it.

Stay safe

The advice given in March hasn't changed. Wash your hands, wear a mask and practice social distancing. We are jaded and frustrated, but we must not give up now. We are learning to live with this virus every day. The more we observe the guidelines, the closer we get to finding our normal once again.

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Read more: A nutritionist's guide to avoiding unhealthy emotional eating during lockdown

Read more: Mental health: 'The absence of stigma doesn’t always mean an increase in understanding'

Read more: 3 tasty (and easy) breakfast options to make in the mornings

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