Pandemic Self-Care During the Winter Months

By: Katelyn Ihne, LPC

Winter tends to be one of the most difficult seasons to deal with for most people. It is cold, the days are short, and there is not much to do to keep us busy. Many of us can relate to having a hard time adjusting to this season and the mental health struggles it brings. To make things more challenging, we are two years into a pandemic which has caused many of us to feel trapped in our homes and feel separated from our closest family and friends. We are all adjusting to this changing world and figuring out our place in this “new normal” that we hear about.

You may be feeling more irritable or sad, having low energy, or struggling to complete daily tasks that you were able to do in the past.  A large number of people are feeling the same way. Knowing how to take care of ourselves is important during this particularly difficult time.

We all know exercise, good sleep hygiene, and eating well are crucial for feeling good. Here are some other tips for staying strong that you may not have thought of.

  • Start a gratitude journal and write down 1 or 2 things you were grateful for that day.
  • Get outside for as much fresh air as possible.
  • Meditate or use mindfulness. Mindfulness is about being present and in the moment. Our good friend Google has tons of resources for mindfulness practice.
  • Download some apps to your phone to help you think about things more realistically and to feel more productive in working on your mental health. Some apps include Calm, ACT Coach, Headspace, Insight Timer, etc.
  • Plan a get together (virtual or in person) with some friends, family, or colleagues you haven’t seen in a while.
  • Plan some exciting things. Look to the next week, month, or year, and try to have enjoyable things scheduled. It could be as big as a vacation or as small as dinner at a popular new restaurant. Put these in your calendar or planner so you’re more likely to actually enjoy these events.

This is not a novel list of ideas; you can Google for 5 minutes and find similar suggestions. What we’re adding is hopefully motivation for you to go beyond just reading this list and actually committing to doing it. Remember, life can be stressful at times, and we can struggle at different points throughout our lives. Being able to take care of ourselves mentally is a skill we will need forever. You only have one life to live; take care of it to the best of your abilities even during the dark, cold days. The winter can be tough, but you are tougher!

If you’re try these activities or struggle to find motivation to do these activities, we may be able to help. Call us at 908-914-2624 or email us at to see if we’d be a good fit for your needs.


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