As the days grow shorter and the nights longer, the arrival of darker seasons can take a toll on our mental and emotional well-being. The transition from the warmth and brightness of summer to the Baltic darkness of winter can be hard!
I’m no expert, but hopefully I can light-up the importance of self-care during darker days and how it can help you gain back some control over your well-being.
And just to caveat, it’ s okay if you want to curl up like a hedgehog and hibernate to cope with the seasonal slump, these tips aren’t a one size fits all… only suggestions to help ease you into winter.
1. Acknowledging the Seasonal Shift
The change of seasons, especially when transitioning into autumn and winter, can actually cause a biological change to your body…the reduced exposure to sunlight can disrupt our circadian rhythms and seriously affect our mood, leading to symptoms like fatigue, sadness, and a general lack of motivation. Acknowledging that this is causing a change to your body and addressing the seasonal affects can really help. Adjusting your normal routine, especially during darker days, can help regulate your body’s internal clock and work toward a better mood.
2. Prioritise Physical Self-Care
I don’t want to patronise you by telling you to ‘GeT YOuR 10k STePs a DaY’, and I’m completely guilty of sinking into the sofa after a long day at work, instead of exercising… but getting your body moving is essential during the darker days.
Exercise, a balanced diet, and regular sleep patterns are key components of self-care that can help boost your energy levels, improve mood, and enhance overall well-being. Engaging in physical activities, even if they’re indoors, can release endorphins, reduce stress, and contribute to a sense of real accomplishment.
Here at Speed, we have ‘Move More Monday’s which are great at helping you move more in a sociable setting (plus your colleagues can keep you accountable!). Check to see if your company have any initiatives that are similar and if not, bring it up to your manager.
3. Embracing the Comforts of Winter
Light some candles, cozy up with a warm blanket (a heated blanket is even better!), and enjoy a warm cuppa. Why not start that docu-series that’s been on your list or organise to have your friends around for a seasonal get together. Surrounding yourself with the people and things that make you feel safe, and content can help you embrace the change in season.
4. Use Your Emotional Resilience
Darker days can take a toll on your emotional well-being… so it’s important to nurture emotional resilience. I tend to practice this by engaging in activities that bring me joy, like creative outlets or physical exercise. Most importantly, be KIND to yourself.
Don’t hesitate to seek support if needed. Talking through your feelings and challenges with a professional or a friend can really help, sometimes it’s the scariest bit just speaking up.
5. Practicing Mindfulness and Relaxation
Practicing mindfulness and relaxation techniques can also help with your darker-day arsenal. Meditation, deep breathing exercises, and yoga (I prefer Pilates!) can help you stay grounded and reduce stress. Mindfulness also grounds you, letting you to live in the present moment and truly appreciate the beauty in the world around you, even when it seems dull during the changing seasons.
At Speed we have Wellness Wednesdays – where a 10-minute meditation session helps you break away from your laptop for a moment to breathe. You could also follow a quick YouTube meditation if you want a quick fix whilst working from home! Having a break away from your work can help your productivity levels!
6. Connecting with Nature
Que the classic Meg suggestion… nature! Whilst the weather might not be as inviting at the moment, making an effort to connect with nature can still be restoring. Taking a quick walk during your lunchbreak, admiring the auburn leaves as they float to the ground, or simply spending some time near a window to soak in some natural light. Connecting with nature can have a HUGE impact on well-being (and provide a refreshing change of scenery from your laptop).
I hope these small tips help you this Winter. Your well-being deserves your attention, care, and love, no matter the season.
– Meg Webber, Account Executive