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Staying positive during winter

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Now that the clocks have gone back, the days are becoming shorter and colder. This is the time of year when it’s very easy for our moods to slip into a seasonal slump. So how can we remain a bit more positive as we head into a winter of lockdown?

Winter is often difficult enough for older and vulnerable people. The colder and darker conditions make it so much harder to remain active and it’s very common that feelings of loneliness are heightened around this time. This winter, however, is likely to feel a bit harder than normal.

As the world continues to deal with the pandemic through social distancing restrictions and lockdown measures, the darker months could make us particularly miserable this year. This makes it all the more important for us to stay connected with our loved ones and remain as positive as possible throughout the winter.

While we might hope to focus on Spring 2021 as a brighter and more optimistic time for everyone, keeping spirits high for the next few months is going to involve a bit of extra work and engagement from all of us. Here are just a few ways we can all help ourselves and each other to remain positive during Winter 2020.

Increase visits, calls and social interactions

At this time of year, we’d normally expect to see the high streets bustling with Christmas shoppers and festive market stalls. The need to maintain social distancing, however, has effectively cancelled those festivities. Instead, many of us will be spending more time at home, away from friends and relatives.

For those who are able (and providing the present guideline allow it), paying a quick visit to others will help to keep spirits up. This may be difficult where older relatives or those living with existing medical conditions are concerned. Fortunately, we’ve become so used to making more phone and video calls this year, so it’ll be useful to turn to technology to stay in regular contact this winter.

Maintain a schedule

Without a set routine, it’s easy for the days and nights to blur into one. This is especially the case if we end up staying in one place all day, such spending all day in bed or on the couch watching TV. Try to incorporate different activities into your day at certain times to break up the monotony.

Set goals at certain times like cooking meals, going for a short walk, reading a new book, or focussing on a beloved hobby. Not only will this help the days to pass by more easily, but it will also give you a sense of accomplishment to look back and see how much you’ve packed into your day. Much better than feeling bad about doing very little all day!

More light exposure

This time of year is usually notable for people experiencing a massive slump in their mood. Commonly known as seasonal affective disorder (or SAD), this occurs when many of us see less natural sunlight than we would in the summer. Staying indoors under lockdown conditions is expected to make this feel worse than normal.

Keep your curtains wide open during the day to get as much natural light into your home as possible. If you’re lucky enough to have a garden or balcony, try standing outside for a few moments too to soak up some elusive Vitamin D. If you’re particularly affected by SAD, you might want to research various light therapy lamps. They can be quite expensive but they are able to simulate summer sunlight for your body to absorb and keep hormone and energy levels high.

Keep as active as possible

There may be restrictions on going outside, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop being active. Getting hands-on with a practical hobby or staying motivated with a few simple daily workouts can help to boost your mood and vitality. Whether it’s a few stretches in the morning or lifting your arms with cans of beans as makeshift weights, a little activity can go a long way.

Despite lockdown measures in place, it’s still possible to do some activity outdoors. You may want to wrap up warm and go for a walk around the block or to a local park and back. Shopping for essentials once a week also gives you the opportunity to stretch your legs. It might seem strange to think of your shopping trip as a bit of exercise, but you can find some fun in embracing every opportunity to keep your motivation going!

All in all, the coming months will certainly present us with a slightly more challenging winter than we’re used to. By maintaining positive attitudes and strong engagements with others, we can help ourselves and our loved ones through a potentially tough time.