Ward Off Winter Blues
On March 11, 2020 the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus a global pandemic. In response, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health urged people to avoid crowds, stay six feet apart, wear a mask, and wash hands in an effort to remain physically healthy.
Now months later, many are tired of both the restrictions and the stress that comes from living in a health crisis. Doctors are warning of "pandemic fatigue" or feeling exhausted, anxious, lonely, and sad due to the pandemic. This can be caused by stay-at-home orders that can be isolating or a general fear of oneself and one's loved ones becoming ill.
During COVID-19, taking care of your physical and mental wellbeing is essential to managing stress and maintaining physical health. This becomes more difficult in the winter season where the days get shorter, darker, and colder. Health problems can arise like the cold or flu as well as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a form of depression that occurs around the same time each year, usually in the winter months. SAD can impact appetite, energy levels, sleeping, and moods.
To ward off winter blues, it is important to monitor your thoughts, fatigue, and feelings. This might mean contacting your doctor if you are having SAD symptoms or if you are experiencing suicidal ideation. You can also call the 24-hour National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255 for free and confidential support. Or, you may decide that teletherapy, or meeting with a therapist over the phone or on video, is the best option for getting support at this time.
In order to maintain your physical health, you need to practice the advice from the CDC. Staying home more often, washing hands, and wearing a mask in public are critical steps to preventing the spread of the coronavirus. As temperatures cool down, it is time to get creative with exercising indoors, finding entertainment, and connecting socially with others while keeping a physical distance. Inside this issue are more ideas on how to manage your mental and physical health this season.