At the time we publish this, the UK is entering a second lockdown – as are many countries around the world. And even in places with less restrictions, many are still having to self-isolate. Safe to say, winter won’t be quite the same as usual this year.
But, learning about some ways to cope with lockdown through the colder months will hopefully help make it seem a little less daunting. This starts with being aware of the challenges we might experience…
The Problem of Winter 2020
Millions of people have problems with the changing seasons, experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder or ‘Winter Blues’. As the days get shorter and darker, some people:
- Find it difficult to wake up
- Feel ‘slowed down’ and lack energy
- Put on weight
- Struggle to focus on work
- Experience irritability
- Feel noticeably down and unhappy
Some people are affected by the onset of winter much more than others, but many will experience these thoughts, feelings and behaviours to some extent. It’s caused by the environment, specifically light deprivation, and stress. The uncertain situation we are living in at the moment and the increase in time spent indoors could well exacerbate these effects.
Authorities have warned about the difficulties of dealing with Coronavirus in Winter amidst a second wave. We’re facing what some might call a bleak period. However, at InnerDrive, we believe that learning never stops, and that crisis can be an opportunity to develop our mindset and build on our skills. So, we’ve put together some tips to help you stay resilient, safe, and thriving this winter.
Coping with Lockdown in Winter
Have a structure to your days. If you’re learning, working, or training from home, keep a schedule with regular bedtimes, waking times, mealtimes, and downtimes. You might want to keep an achievable to-do list, with daily tasks you can complete and tick off to keep you productive and motivated. We best deal with worries when we have a plan, so scheduling your days keeps you feeling calm and in control.
During the first lockdown, we created free printable goal-setting worksheets for students, which might help.
Have a hobby
Having a regular hobby helps you to keep structure to your week, gives you something to look forward to, and keeps your mind active. You could even take up something new. Playing an instrument, dancing, knitting, keeping a diary, baking and practising mindfulness or meditation are just a few examples. Even something as simple as colouring or drawing can have a very therapeutic effect.
Having to stay at home or being unable to mix with other households may cause many people to feel isolated and lonely, which can have negative effects.
Try your best to stay connected and communicate with others. Even if you can’t meet up with family and friends, maintain those relationships over the phone or online.
We should also think about those who might be even more isolated and worried at the moment. The elderly, the vulnerable, those who live by themselves, those dealing with grief. This isn’t just about delivering groceries, it’s about talking to them, finding out how they’re doing, and being a social connection. The people you surround yourself with have a much bigger impact than you may think, so strive to be a good friend to those around you.
Another important aspect of staying connected is being aware of current news. This should help to reduce any uncertainty you might be feeling, by keeping you up to date on what’s going on in the world, and the current restrictions. Equipping yourself with current knowledge will also help to guard you from fake news and misinformation which might otherwise cause panic.
Go outside (safely)
Going outside and getting fresh air is good for our well-being and immune system. Two key reasons why we get the flu in winter are that we spend too much time in sealed indoor environments, and we don’t get enough sunlight. Being outside and soaking up any sunlight, even just with a short walk, will boost your immune system, and keep you happy. Just make sure to stay warm and wear a mask when you do go out.
Exercise does great things for our mental and physical health. Try to keep a balanced diet as well, to boost your mood and energy and strengthen your immune system. We’re not saying you need a strict dieting regime, just try to balance those yummy winter treats with lots of fruit and vegetables too. Keeping healthy in this way will help you to maintain your concentration and cognitive functioning, so that you can continue to work towards your personal goals and achievements.
Staying positive and maintaining hope for the future will help to keep you happy and motivated this winter. Whatever your situation, a positive attitude will help you to continue to develop your skills and abilities, and achieve your goals.
If you have moments when you’re feeling down or frustrated this winter, try to remember the good things in life. Think about what you’re doing well, and engage in positive self-talk. Putting things into perspective in this way will help you to keep a positive attitude, develop resilience, and focus on how you can do better and reach even higher achievements.
However, maintaining positivity is not the same as seeing everything through rose-tinted glasses. The Stockdale Paradox teaches us the importance of being optimistic, but in a realistic way. So, the best way to manage ourselves during this winter lockdown is to acknowledge the challenges we face, while staying positive and keeping faith that eventually we will overcome these.
Staying healthy and happy all through the winter can be a struggle at the best of times. Facing it during a pandemic makes it that bit more daunting. However, you don’t need to put your goals on hold because of Coronavirus: there’s still a point in maintaining healthy habits and striving for achievement. Follow our tips and we hope you might even find ways to thrive during the winter lockdown.
For more tips on coping with lockdown and keeping up your learning, have a read of our Lockdown Support Six-Packs.