Winter is finally here and as usual, the sneezing and coughing should be highly anticipated. As if that alone is not enough - when it comes to mental health - winter has come with its blues too.
Apart from trying to keep warm to counter the seasonal flu and its friends, it is also important that one guards their emotional and mental wellbeing. This is more important, especially to those who are susceptible to winter blues. This is because, during winter, one is more likely to spend more time indoors with very little physical and even less social activities. Of course, physical exercise, for many reasons, helps to boost not only physical but also mental and emotional health to a greater extent. Therefore, little or no exercise can compromise one’s health in these areas too.
Now, there is so much information shared, especially for winter, but it is only focused on physical health. Social media is full of so much content, even on different home remedies, that one can employ to counter possible ailments. What is always surprising though is that there is just not much information and remedies shared on either awareness, or how the season may also have an impact on mental and emotional health. This is because today’s society is not mental health-conscious, or it is simply a misunderstood and complex matter to take on.
Although mental health issues are evident and experienced, much of it remains the elephant in the room. This could also be for two reasons though: One is that those who are experiencing mental health issues see no way out or platforms where they could freely seek help, or even support groups to serve as safe havens. The second is that most people would not know what to do when presented with a situation where someone close is going through conditions of anxiety, panic attacks and depression.
Since there is not much information shared and the topic of mental health is not spoken about openly, it creates room for assumptions. After assumptions then come other usual possible vices too such as stigma, which will generally make the mental health issue in a population even worse. What also turns out to be the case is that since prolonged or chronic mental health issues manifest as physical problems, one may eventually end up just seeking medical help for the symptoms, instead of seeking the right remedial assistance to alleviate the root cause.
The good news about mental health and especially winter blues is that even when we can seek help, eventually how soon one can get better depends on how much work one puts in. Even before getting to possible medical relief, there are many remedial options that over time can have long-term benefits than relying on a pill alone. It would, therefore, be important for one to equip oneself with some of the many techniques for dealing with anxiety and depression, which may even have other extra benefits, especially when it comes to mood management.
Undoubtedly, methods such as yoga, meditation and breathing relaxation exercises are some of the few self-help methods that one can use as part of the comprehensive coping and healing mechanisms for emotional and mental health. These are easy and can be learned in one’s comfort, and even be mastered over time. This will be the best time to join a local yoga and meditation club as part of a wellness plan. It will go a long way not only in overcoming winter blues, but also help in coping with the distress we may be experiencing, especially in these difficult Covid-19 times.
By Karlos TheGreat
Uncommon Sense is published every Friday in the New Era newspaper with contributions from Karlos Naimwhaka