Caring for Your Mental and Physical Well-Being as the Weather Gets Colder
As we approach mid October, the weather here in Michigan is starting to get colder as the days go on. Brisk breezes fill the air and dark skies start rolling in earlier.
While this all sounds cozy in theory (it’s a great excuse to wrap up in a blanket all day), the ushering in of the late fall and winter months often takes a toll on the mental and physical well-being of many people. The whole situation becomes even more isolating than in normal years when you factor COVID-19 into this. That being said, it’s especially important now more than ever to take care of your health, and there are many ways to show the snow and crunchy leaves who’s the real boss.
Find a therapist
Therapy is essential to an overall healthy self. Whether it be the need to work through past trauma, learn healthy coping mechanisms to help combat your anxiety, or just talk through the way you’re feeling, therapy is a great tool to keep your mental health in check. It’s more accessible than ever now, being that online therapy sessions are on the rise (which means you can essentially do this one from your bed). If money is tight right now, check out the “counseling” tab on our website! Other therapists offer therapy on a sliding-scale basis, making it affordable as well. You can find some of the best online therapy programs here.
You can also join our weekly Social Group by signing up here.
Explore that hobby you’ve been wanting to try
Have you always wanted to learn how to play the guitar? Dying to try calligraphy? Wanting to create the most aesthetically-pleasing bullet journal? The colder months are the perfect time to dive head-first into all of the hobbies you’ve been putting aside. Being highly encouraged to stay at home and stay indoors, it can be easy to let your mind wander to darker places. Hobbies are a great way to put your focus and energy into something productive and positive while also giving you a fantastic opportunity to find something new that you enjoy. If you’re unsure where to start, there are thousands of tutorial videos on YouTube that can guide you, depending on what you want to try. This is your sign to go ahead and bake that decorated focaccia you’ve had your eyes on since the beginning of quarantine!
Take the time to call your loved ones
Whether it be your best friend from college or your grandma who lives on the other side of the country, setting aside time to catch up with someone you care about can do wonders for your mental health. Simply hearing the voice of someone you love can send waves of oxytocin, the “love hormone,” through your body, giving you a jolt of comfort. Additionally, being social (at a distance, of course) can give you a sense of normalcy, too, which is always appreciated in tumultuous times like these.
Find a form of movement you truly enjoy
Truly healthy movement is one that promotes self-love, body positivity, and kindness— you don’t need to work up a sweat to reap in the endorphins that exercise gives you! Explore the kinds of movement that intrigue you and feel good on that particular day. Maybe taking a nature walk while listening to your favorite podcast sounds nice, or maybe a morning YouTube yoga-flow session in your bedroom will do the trick. Being in touch with how your muscles move and learning what your body enjoys doing can be a great way to clear the head and work out some pent-up tension.
In a world that always seems to be going, going, going, taking the time to rest is crucial for your overall health. Rest can mean different things for different people— for you, maybe that means not setting an alarm on Sunday morning, and for others, that may mean plopping down on the couch with a bowl of popcorn and your favorite television show. Productivity is important, but it’s not everything— burnout is very real, and setting aside time to simply exist and be can give you the recharge you didn’t know you needed.
— Autumn Miller, Undergraduate Intern