Fall is the time of year when things slow down in preparation for winter. Trees shed their leaves, and plants go dormant. Birds fly south, and those that stay are busy caching food. The daylight hours shrink, and darkness grows.
This slowdown happens for most people, as well. Many love winter; others struggle with the dark and the cold. This is true any time, but with diminished opportunities for socializing with COVID this year, the potential for loneliness and isolation increases.
It’s especially important to make extra effort to take care of your mental and physical wellbeing this fall and winter. This can involve finding ways to socialize, deepening connections with family, and truly nurturing yourself. Here are some suggestions, many of which can be done with friends or loved ones, either virtually or together with appropriate distancing and sometimes masks:
Physical activity is one of the most powerful ways to take care of your mind and body.
- Go for walks outside, and if weather or sidewalks prevent it, consider mall walking. Invest in a pair of removable ice grippers for your shoes.
- Try a new exercise. Find a beginner yoga, dance, or tai chi class online (ideally offered by a local teacher or studio) and treat yourself to exploring a new way of moving your body.
- Take short movement and stretch breaks throughout the day. Whether you’re working at a desk or reading on the couch, a few minutes of activity every hour will do wonders for your body.
Take care of others
Research on happiness and life satisfaction consistently shows that people who give their time and talents freely to their community are more content with their lives.
- Reach out to a friend to check in. Call or video call and really listen to how they’re doing.
- Contact an organization whose causes you believe in and ask them how you can help. This could be in-person, but it doesn’t have to be… perhaps you have a talent, such as singing, cooking, or crocheting, that you can offer or teach for free through Zoom.
- Make a meal and deliver it to a friend or neighbour who lives alone.
Take care of yourself
Although it’s important for your physical and mental health to keep moving, it’s also important for both to slow down once in a while. Allow yourself some time each day to look after your own needs instead of taking care of everyone else’s.
- Enjoy a hot bath, perhaps by candlelight with some bath salts or oils and quiet music.
- Take an hour to just hunker down with your favourite hot drink and a good book.
- Make mealtime more interesting by exploring new healthy recipes.
- Keep your mind active with activities like puzzles, crosswords, sudoku, or learning a new language.
Take care of yourselves, everyone.