If you are worried about enduring a winter amid strict pandemic conditions, don’t panic because you are not alone. Despite there being severe restrictions during the summer, it did provide more opportunities to participate in activities you enjoy, and therefore, winter might look dire in comparison. Winter also has a reputation for being colder, darker, and lonelier. If you are in recovery, you likely understand that these winter traits can perpetuate negative thoughts and behaviors associated with Seasonal Affective Disorder. These factors alone can create enough anxiety to want to hideaway. However, being proactive and working with your therapist, counselor, or support group to develop a plan will help you navigate winter in healthier ways. Planning is the essence of any successful regimen. It accounts for ways to reach goals, and it also accounts for the challenges that are sure to arise. Before you cast winter away and accept feeling lousy, make a plan so that you feel motivated and enthusiastic.
Make a Coping Plan Now
When stress occurs, you might think there are limited solutions to a problem instead of when you are not stressed, for which you might think of many solutions to a problem. Therefore, you stand to curb your winter stresses by thinking about how you will plan for the winter months now. For example, if you worry that seeing people or being motivated to see people will become a source of stress, arrange dates and events to see them now. This way, you can develop a consistent routine that will last throughout winter. You might have a Zoom coffee date or arrange safe-distanced walks together outside. Or if you have outdoor space, think about getting yourself a heat lamp so you can entertain a friend or two outdoors without worrying about the social-distancing rules. You might consider fostering a pet if you feel that you are going to get lonely. Not only will thinking of healthy ways to cope and navigate stress filled situations benefit you but having a plan will bring much more peace of mind to you today.
Take Stock of Good Spring Habits
Facing the winter amid the pandemic might be intimidating, to say the least; however, by now, you have learned much more about yourself and keeping safe during the pandemic. Look at some of the routines and schedules that have been helpful. You can also look at the ones that have not been so helpful. Include the small things that helped bring balance, joy, and normalcy to your day. You could even keep a journal and write out a list of the things that helped you and the things that hurt you. Try to sit with each thought you write and understand why something made you feel a certain way. Exploring your feelings connected to these acts helps you better understand yourself and why you react to different scenarios in specific ways.
Enjoy the Present
It is easy to live inside a stress bubble that exists in a future that has not yet happened. When this occurs, you stand the risk of neglecting your recovery needs and missing out on opportunities when they present themselves. It is essential to focus on the present by continuing to work on yourself. If you are still wondering if you are able or unable to find balance, get back in touch with a schedule that suits your needs, including adequate sleep, exercise, meditation, and other self-care practices. When you focus on the now, you reduce the risk of succumbing to the future’s imaginary scenarios.
If there was ever a mantra that you should keep repeating or write down over and over, it should be these two words: stay connected. Then actually put it to practice. Staying connected with family, friends, and peers from support not only helps combat loneliness but enables you to share your concerns and worries. Expressing yourself to others that support you helps you not to have to process your feelings alone. You are also likely to find that others share the same worry and concerns. You can then begin to work with your loved ones on ways that you can each get through the winter months together. You may also come to understand that despite social restrictions, utilizing video chat or the phone can shift your perception about winter being so lonely. Make staying connected a top priority when working out your winter plan.
If negative emotions such as stress, anxiety, and depression interfere with your life and recovery, it may be time to seek professional help. Talking with a mental health professional such as a therapist, counselor, or doctor can help normalize some of your feelings. Professionals will also help you come up with strategies and coping mechanisms to manage your rising emotions. Staying in consistent contact with a professional not only helps hold you accountable, but you can be reassured knowing that you have someone to reach out to for help. At True Recovery, we provide 24/7 admissions to ensure that there is always care provided to meet your needs. Our treatment and therapies include both conventional and alternative care practices because we understand that recovery is not a one-size-fits-all approach. We also know that the winter is among the more challenging months of recovery, and we will help you continue to build with your strong support system and be a pillar of support for you ourselves. Remember, you are never far away from overcoming a challenge when you put your recovery first. To learn more, call us today at (866) 399-6528.