Mental Health in a global pandemic: it's ok not to be ok this winter
By: Samara O’Gorman
With winter just around the corner, and tightened restrictions in place, your mental health is to be taken very seriously. Even in a regular winter, our mental health is at stake with longer, colder nights as the weather can take a toll on both your mental and physical health. It goes without saying that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused job loss and political tension, but it has also impacted our mental health negatively.
This upcoming winter is more worrisome for those who suffer from seasonal affective disorder, and depression; however, there are tips and coping mechanisms given from mental health experts that will have us persevere through these dark days, and come out to greet a better, brighter spring and summer in 2021.
This pandemic was unprecedented, and so are our emotions that go along the given circumstances. No one was prepared to deal with how COVID-19 would affect us financially, physically, socially and psychologically. With that being said, it’s important to find some sort of normalcy within this time.
It’s important to check in on yourself, your friends and your relatives. Choose a healthy diet and eating habits, and try to get some physical activity in every day. Don’t be afraid to grieve, let your emotions loose and seek help. Listed below are some easy tips given by experts, with safety precautions respected.
Put your phone aside & rediscover childhood hobbies!
Even though being attached to your phone throughout this time could be a sense of comfort, constant exposure to the media has been proven to cause amplified anxiety and stress. Even though it’s very important to stay informed with news coverage during this time, it’s also crucial to know when to put your phone aside, and attend to other activities. Most people have found peace within rediscovering their childhood hobbies, like painting, puzzles, or baking etc. (You can even choose to abandon this article right now, make a puzzle, and then come back to continue reading later…! It will still be here, I promise!)
A walk a day – stay active!
Getting as much physical activity as you can is surely to keep your mood lifted. With many gyms being closed due to the high risk of contagion, be resourceful with things you find around your house! It’s also possible to try an outdoor winter activity this year, such as skating, snowshoeing or skiing, which helps you get exercise whilst having fun!
Connect virtually with loved ones! – ZOOM party!
We are so lucky we live in a day and age with technology that is allowing us to connect with friends and family from all over the world! Even though it isn’t quite the same, it’s still a safe and fulfilling alternative during these times. Laughing with your friends can instantly strengthen your emotions.
A healthy diet and plenty of sleep is key!
Don’t be afraid to get more sleep than usual, our bodies are telling us to essentially ‘hibernate’ in this cold weather, like our neighboring squirrels do! Depression can also increase sleeping hours, and if you spend all day in bed, don’t let it bother you. It’s okay to take a mental health day once in a while, and relax. Make sure you’re still drinking water, and consuming the necessary nutrients your body needs. Diets that include high-sugar intake and processed foods have been linked to mood swings, so try to stick to fruits and veggies as much as possible! (But we won’t tell if you treat yourself this winter, you deserve it!)
And lastly- it’s ok to not be ok.
If you’re feeling depressed, anxious or mentally unwell during these times remember that it’s perfectly normal, and many other people are going through the same thing. We’re all human, so don’t be afraid to reach out; there are so many helpful resources that can aid you through your situation. We’re in this together!
Province-wide suicide prevention hotline:
1 866 APPELLE or 1‑866‑277‑3553
Tel-Écoute – Ligne Le Deuil :
Crisis community helpline for emotional distress:
1 855 EN LIGNE or 514‑278‑2130
*All arguments made and viewpoints expressed within Youth In Politics and its nominal entities do not necessarily reflect the views of the writers or the organization as a whole.
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