Beating the winter blues:
A typical winter evening – the sun sets at 5pm and people quickly disappear from the streets. You open social media and are confronted with everything wrong in this world. The winter blues crush you like a wave and all you want to do is go to sleep by 5:30pm.
Navigating winter and mental health has always been a challenge for me. It’s harder when you’re overseas and haven’t seen your family or friends in 2 years. To quote a line from P.B Shelly’s Ode to The West Wind: “If winter comes, can spring be far behind?”
This poem was introduced to me by my late grandfather and holds a lot of significance for me, calling to mind the cycle of sorrow and joy. Reading this poem gives me a sense of solace in these times, as I am reminded that there is light at the end of the tunnel: this too shall pass.
I struggle to be an outdoorsy person due to my mental health, especially during winters, but investing in a rather cheap exercise bike from Kmart has helped to ensure that I am still getting some physical exercise – even when the weather isn’t cooperating.
I am done pretending to be someone who can wake up at 5:30am, journal and drink ginger tea during winter months. I allow myself days to sleep-in, depending upon my work shifts. Due to my medications, getting up extremely early during winters makes me want to sleep throughout the day. I make a conscious effort to honour my body’s needs and look out for what is best for my mental health.
On days when I am home during the afternoons, I make sure to go out and catch some sunlight. Having extremely long and curly hair, the days that I wash it have become motivation to get outside. This way I can air dry my hair and soak up some precious Vitamin D. It sure does help to lift my mood, especially when I have my Spotify playlist for a ‘sad day’ on.
One of the downfalls of social media for me has been the prevalence of content that glorifies diet culture. Some days it’s okay if you want a plain hot chocolate with full-cream milk a marshmallow, especially on a cold day!
I have found staying connected with my family and friends overseas is very beneficial, as well as socialising with local friends. Once I leave the house, I feel happy that I made the effort to do so, rather than being in bed 24/7 and increasing my screen time to 10 hours a day.
Finally, as a fashion and skincare junkie, I absolutely love winter fashion. I also enjoy taking the time to design the perfect winter skincare routine, to make sure my skin stays moisturised and nourished despite the harsh drying air!
This piece was written by one of the ICLA eFriend Peer Support Workers. eFriend is an online platform where you can connect with a trained peer support worker whom has their own lived experience of feeling lonely, isolated, stressed or worried. You can speak to your eFriend Peer via video or phone call. Your eFriend Peer will listen, validate and provide hope. If you like, they can also assist you to identify any other services you may like to try or help you create plans to improve your personal well-being. Or they can simply listen.
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