[Image description: Illustration that says "Your 2021 Wellness Winter Guide" with a faded calendar against a blue background.]
No matter where you live or what you usually do during this season, your winter will likely look different than past years. As we continue to keep COVID-19 guidelines in mind, it may feel like your traditional winter activities are limited.
Whether it’s skipping vacation, seeing family, or meeting up with friends, it makes sense if you are feeling a sense of grief or loss during this pandemic. On top of that, as the days grow shorter and there are perhaps less activities to keep you busy, you may feel anxious or depressed. While all your feelings are valid and understandable, it’s good to remember that some things are still within your control. There are a lot of ways you can stay cautious about COVID-19 and take care of your health — but it may require some creativity!
Stay mindful of COVID-19 safety measures
First and foremost, try to stay up to date on COVID-19, the guidelines, and any new information about the virus and/or vaccine. Additionally, you can:
- Recognize the symptoms. While COVID-19 symptoms have a lot of overlap with the cold and flu, there are important differences to be aware of. The more knowledgeable you are about symptoms to look out for, the better you will be able to protect yourself.
- Manage risk. If you are thinking about meeting up with friends or family outside, you might ask yourself a few questions beforehand. How many people will you interact with, and for how long? Will you be able to stay six feet apart? Will everyone be wearing masks?
- Set your boundaries. Speak with your family members and friends about which activities you are comfortable participating in and which you’d prefer to skip. Are you willing to meet up with friends outside if everyone is wearing masks or would you rather visit with your loved ones virtually?
- Wear a mask. If the mask feels burdensome or is causing skin concerns, see if any of these tips are useful. Even though wearing masks isn’t ideal, and likely wasn’t how you imagined your winter unfolding, it has been proven to not only protect you but also those around you.
- Talk to a provider online. Doctors on Amwell are here to help you. You can ask them questions about COVID-19 and/or any common conditions and discuss next steps together. Plus, you don’t have to worry about driving to the doctor’s office because you can have a visit from home.
Take care of your mental and physical health
This has been a tough year, and it makes sense if it’s taken a toll on your well-being. You might even feel like you’ve tried everything — from eating well and getting more sleep, to maybe starting a new exercise routine — but still aren’t feeling like yourself. Keep up those efforts, they do make a difference! And remember, you have support by your side with nutrition counseling on Amwell. Registered dietitians can provide meal plans, recipes, and personalized advice.
If you are looking for additional help, consider the following (you can even write them down and tape them somewhere visible in your house as a reminder each day):
- Everything you are experiencing is normal. Your reactions and feelings make perfect sense and are natural responses to the increased amount of stress and concern surrounding the pandemic.
- You are doing your best. This is a lot! Try to give yourself some credit for all the work you are putting in to simply move through each day.
- This is hard and it will pass. Especially with the recent news about vaccines becoming available, you might be able to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel.
- You are never alone. This can be a very lonely time — even if you are not physically alone. Remember to use your resources in order to connect with family and friends virtually. Just having them “around” might help make you feel less isolated.
- You can talk to a therapist online. Therapists on Amwell can help you work through your feelings and experiences and offer advice for next steps. Plus, you can find support from the privacy and comfort of your own home.
The various challenges of the coronavirus, mental health, and a changing season can feel daunting. Here are some ideas that may make things feel a bit more manageable:
For the colder climates:
If you live somewhere that gets cold outside in the winter, but you still want to be able to enjoy the fresh air, you could try using heated lamps on the front porch, wrapping yourself in heated blankets, investing in some good snow boots for walking with friends, and/or keeping a full stock of hand and feet warmers in your home.
For the shorter days:
If you are finding it difficult to cope with the early sunsets and darker afternoons/evenings, try investing in some lights and new décor that makes you feel a bit more awake and present. You could also use this as an opportunity to get nice and cozy – perhaps with some scented candles, soft blankets, your favorite tea, and a soothing playlist.
No matter how you choose to take care of yourself this winter, just remember that this is temporary, and you always have support.