It's long been known that weather changes can negatively affect mental health for some people.
As the seasons change and there's less sunlight during the day, children and adults can feel tired, irritable, and even sad. The cold-weather months can present with a unique set of stressors, and this winter will be especially challenging with COVID-19 restrictions and cautions. What happens in winter is that the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin is decreased, while the neurotransmitter melatonin associated with depression and sleepiness is increased. This means some people may feel more sleepy, irritable and sad during these months.
We’ve talked about rituals before, and how they can help us find comfort in challenging times. You might experiment with creating a simple daily winter ritual. You can try something like this as a winter morning ritual before you look at email or the news:
When you wake up and get out of bed, take a minute or two to fully stretch your body. Take three deep breaths, look out a window, and just appreciate the view for a moment, whatever the weather.
Select a mug or cup that's special or comforting to you. Fill it with tea, coffee, hot chocolate, warm milk, whatever you like in the morning - and enjoy the preparation of your beverage, and that first sip.
As a last step, you might keep a notebook handy as you do this ritual, and write down a thought or intention for the day ahead.
Remember, self-care is about making time to take care of yourself. Carving out moments to nurture your mind, body and soul will have far-reaching positive effects. Not only during these cold, dark winter months, but in every season.