It’s December, the final month of the year. I wanted to come with a cheerful message to end the month, spread some holiday cheer, and eliminate some of your winter blues, but I just can’t. Let’s be real for a minute – traumatic news is everywhere.
- The news.
- Social media.
- On the phone with friends.
Just this week, Twitter was filled with condolences to Virgil, COVID diagnoses, and constant updates on the Oxford Shooting that injured 11 people, students and teachers included. It’s only Wednesday. I’m personally still feeling the effects of the death of Rapper Young Dolph.
Combatting the Winter Blues
And, if you’re anything like me – it’s easy to go down a rabbit hole and overly-indulge in the news. With news like this surfacing, here are 4 ways to cope with heart-wrenching news:
1. Validate your feelings
Traumatic events don’t always have to happen to you for you to feel saddened by the news.
As humans, we naturally have feelings and it’s okay to allow ourselves to feel whatever we need to feel. It’s normal to ‘try’ to sweep your feelings under the rug instead of dealing with them, but that hurts us more than it helps. It does nothing but prolong the stress and prevent healing.
Cry if you need to. It doesn’t make you weak – it shows your strength. There’s no right or wrong way to feel.
2. Seek support from your family + friends
It’s normal to avoid people and isolate yourself during times like this. Support is vital. Don’t avoid your family and friends – talk to them. Be sure to ask them if they are in a place to support and listen. And if they are, express your feelings.
Now if you can’t talk about it right away, that’s okay too, but still seek support. Support can be calling a friend over just so you aren’t alone. Watch a comedy together and indulge in your favorite snacks. The key is to not be alone.
3. Get sleep, not just quick naps
Having trouble sleeping is normal. But for your mental health, try to get as much sleep as possible. Take note of these three quick tips to ensure you are getting your rest:
- Establish a sleep routine
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol – at least an hour before bed
- Create a soothing playlist for bedtime
4. Log off + shut the tv off
It’s important to stay informed, but I encourage you to limit your social media and news intake. Refrain from repeatedly watching videos and reading articles that are going to trigger more feelings and emotions.
Give yourself permission to log out of your social media platforms for a minute. I know it’s hard if you use social media for business but schedule those posts, so there’s no need to scroll the platform. Find something else, like reading, writing, or painting, to fill the time you’re usually browsing social media with.
You’ll be surprised at what a couple of days break would do for you.
So outside of trauma, approximately 4 to 6 percent of Americans have seasonal affective disorder. The shorter days and darker nights are working against us. If this is you:
Here are 5 “affirmations” to combat the winter blues
- I am becoming more prosperous every day
- I have come this far, and I can keep going
- I trust in my ability to survive and thrive through any obstacle
- Compassion is infinite and fully surrounds me and my life
- I have the strength to rise in the face of adversity