Check in With Yourself this Winter

Hey Owlets,

As I write this we’re nearly at the shortest day of the year and at 3pm I’ve had to turn the light on in my office. I’m thoroughly fed up of winter despite the fact that I know it’s months until Spring and I bet you’re reading this thinking “same”. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a real thing, but even if you don’t feel the onset of depression as the leaves fall to the ground you can still be affected by the changing seasons. You might feel like you’re in a rut, more tired than usual or just a little bit off. Winter affects everyone differently so it’s important to check in with yourself.

What is checking in with yourself and how do you do it?

Checking in with yourself is when you sit down and take 5 minutes to think about what’s going on and how you feel in yourself. When you have a lot of things going on it’s easy to keep going without realising how stressed or burnt out you are.

Take 10 minutes to sit down and think about everything that’s going on at the moment. What big projects do you have coming up? Is there anyone that you’re not getting on well with? Are there any things at work or in your personal life that’s stressing you out? 

It might just be that you’re fine but you’re tired and in a bit of a rut - that’s a perfectly valid answer. It’s just important to acknowledge how you feel and think about why you’re feeling that way so that you can use that information to move forward.

Now What?

Okay, so you sat down and thought about everything going on at the moment and worked out what’s causing you to be stressed (if you are). It’s all very well and good knowing what’s causing how you feel so you can keep it in check, but it’s also important to know how to process this information.

First of all, if the answer is “I’m just tired” then you should probably work on getting an earlier night (I’m kidding, I know it’s never that simple). A lot of times you can feel tired because you’ve got a lot going on so you’re not sleeping properly or you’re sleeping less than normal. It might be that it’s winter and you’re either cold at night or have the heating on and you’re getting dehydrated.

If you’re stressed then think back to the triggers that you identified. What are they and how can you get through those issues? It’s fine to be busy but you need to take care of yourself. Delegate, push back or cancel any tasks that aren’t urgent, then break other stresses down into smaller chunks so they’re less daunting.

For a lot of us, mental health might become more of an issue in winter. A lot of the time it’s because we’re busy doing fun things in summer and don’t have time to think. Suddenly the downtime catches up with you and you find yourself over thinking. A lot of the time you can work through it alone or with family, but if not then it’s nothing to be ashamed of. If you can afford it then consider booking an initial call with a private psychiatry firm to discuss what’s going on and what treatment options might be right for you. Of course, if you can’t afford it then speak to your doctor and asked to be referred on the NHS, but sadly the NHS is so overstretched that you might have to wait a while before you’re seen. In the meantime, focus on doing things that bring you comfort and practice self care each day to help you cope with and process how you feel.

Mental health flare ups can happen at any time, but winter can be a huge catalyst for underlying issues to show themselves. It doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with you - you’re just human. We all get stressed, anxious or sad sometimes but it’s important to take all of the time that you need in order to take care of yourself, and if you need to get help then you shouldn’t feel ashamed doing that. Spring might feel a long time away at the moment, but as long as you find small things to be happy about each day then it’ll come around in no time.

Love and Feathers, 
 The Owlet 💜 
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