Stress is back under the spotlight this month with National Stress Awareness Day on Wednesday 5th November. At this time of the year stress levels typically rise, because although nature may be slowing down and encouraging us to rest and retreat, our modern lives and work schedules continue to demand constant activity and productivity.
Winter offers an invitation to turn inward and recuperate. When we override this seasonal rest cycle by forcing ourselves to race on without refuelling we can begin to experience burnout. A common symptom of this is depression.
7 TIPS TO TRANSFORM DEPRESSION THIS WINTER
1. Listen – Allow the wisdom of your body to communicate with you by noticing the physical signs and symptoms it gives you rather than overriding them. Be kind to yourself. It is okay to feel low.
2. Pause – Give yourself permission to press pause, de-stress and take time out to rest.
3. Lighten Your Load – Let go of unnecessary commitments. Clear some space in your calendar so that you can slow down, indulge in some personal reflection and get more sleep.
4. Go Within – Use creative mediums like poetry, art, song, dance and body movement to explore and process your emotions, especially the ones you’ve felt unable to express in the past.
5. Remove the Mask – Make a list or draw pictures of all the things you pretend to be in your life. What are you putting up with? What are your frustrations? Where do you feel tension? By expressing these it becomes easier to go behind the mask you wear and rediscover who you truly are underneath.
6. Get Outside – Make an effort to get outside during the day and increase your exposure to daylight. This will help to boost your mood and is especially important during the winter months when there are shorter daylight hours.
7. Uncover Your Passions Connect with your true interests to boost your sense of self-fulfilment and help overcome depression. Lacking inspiration? Remember some of the things you used to love to do as a child and reignite old hobbies or experiment by trying something new.
NB: If you think you may be suffering from prolonged stress, depression or SAD consult your GP for further advice and information.