Winter sucks. At least it does in my opinion. It’s always cold, there are usually grey, rainy days, people don’t want to meet up as much and outfits become less about being chic and more about staying warm. All in all, winter is not my favourite. The thing is, for me winter also means that I get grumpier. The heat and the sunshine of summer (and usually autumn) has been taken away, the days are shorter and for me that adds up to mean one big black bad mood. The thing is I don’t think that it’s solely because of the weather. It’s easier to feel down and alone when it’s dark and you don’t want to leave the house, which means it’s easier to slip into those sneaky mental health traps.
Winter is generally the time when people with mental health issues tend to feel a bit worse. It’s always the time that I lean more heavily on my coping mechanisms, and force myself to do the things I would really rather not do. So rather than letting winter ruin my health as well as my tan I tackle each winter day with three easy questions:
How do I look?
G accuses me of being a bit of a parrot – whenever there’s a mirror I will check how I look. The first thing I stop paying attention to when I am starting to get ill again is my appearance. By making a point of ensuring I look presentable I can keep track of how much I am struggling so I know when to ask for help.
Do I really want it?
I stress eat. And comfort eat. And hibernate. Winter is the time when we all over indulge but I have a tendency of going over board. By keeping track of my food intake and asking myself whether I’m actually hungry or just eating for the sake of it means I can avoid putting on an extra 10 stone and feeling down about my appearance.
Will I be upset if I don’t do it?
Because it’s winter and it’s miserable I find it easier to avoid social outings. So I know whether I’d rather have a lazy night in on the sofa or whether I’m avoiding it because of my mental health I ask myself whether I will be upset that I didn’t attend when people are discussing it after the event. That way I know I’m making the right decision for the right reasons.
Do you find that it’s harder to stay mentally well during winter? How do you cope?