20 ways to cope with the Winter Lockdown

The festive period may feel different to ones we’ve had before, but there are still ways to maintain our wellbeing within the restrictions. Pick out tasks of your choice and tick them off as you go!

Make a list of the things of
things you are grateful for.

Write down any negative
thoughts and challenge
yourself to come up with
realistic, helpful responses.

On the hour, every hour, take
three deep breaths.

Make a list of your strengths
and how you plan to use
them in the year ahead.

Pick out a specific problem
you are experiencing and ask
someone for help.

During your daily outdoor exercise, drop a hand-made gift on the doorstep of a local friend.

Send a text to someone you
haven’t caught up with in
ages.

Join an online fan group
about your favourite TV show
and introduce yourself.

Share with a friend something
helpful you learned recently.

Ask someone about their day
and listen deeply and fully to
their response.

Pick out a book of your
choice and try to read a
chapter a week.

Challenge yourself to an
afternoon without electronics.
No screens until dinner!

Pick a historical event that
you want to know more about
and read it’s Wikipedia page.

Learn an Origami pattern and
teach it to a loved one.

Pick a language you’d love to
speak and learn how to count
to 10. Try and use it for your
breathing exercises.

Take a 10 minute, socially distanced walk whilst listening to upbeat music, trying to time your steps to the music.

Complete a hand scan: Focus on each of your fingers for 10 seconds, wiggling then relaxing them one by one. Clench and unclench your fists, then roll your wrists in each direction.

Search your neighbourhood for the best Christmas lights and stay a while to watch them twinkle.

Dance to the whole of the next song on the radio.

Eat a warm treat mindfully. One by one, notice the texture, taste and smell.

Advice for
Parents and Carers

Coping with
Grief and Loss

Christmas can be a painful time, whether it’s your first
year without someone, you were bereaved long ago or
you lost someone before you got to meet them.

Everyone grieves differently
People remember and mourn in different ways. Conflict
within a family can sometimes arise when we have
expectations of how others should grieve, so try to be
sensitive to others’ needs and to talk openly.
Remember that using alcohol to escape the pain of loss
provides only very temporary relief.

Experiencing celebration guilt
Simply maintaining a Christmas routine can the best
tribute you can pay to your loved one, but some find it
difficult not to feel guilty about celebrating without them.
It can be helpful to set aside some time to remember
someone you’ve lost, either by ‘speaking’ to them, visiting
their grave or looking back at photos which you treasure.
Doing this with the people who share your loss can be
something that brings you together, but you are also
entitled to do it alone.

Coping with
Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder, S.A.D, is a form of depression in which the changing seasons have an effect on your mood and energy levels.

Kim lives in Southampton and shares her diagnosis journey and some ideas for coping during the winter months

“I’ve always suffered with winter blues and struggled as days got shorter, but a few years ago I found it was worse than before. I struggled to get out of bed but also found it hard to sleep, and I had no motivation or energy to do anything. I felt like I was disconnected… simply “meh” all the time.

My family encouraged me to visit my GP, who told me about S.A.D. For me it’s like an endless grey, not just in the weather but also emotionally, and sometimes it’s hard to remember what an easy day feels like.

Medication helps many people to manage the symptoms, but I found that talking it through helped. I self-referred to italk, Solent Mind and Southern Health’s free talking therapy service and learned some self-help strategies to help me manage how I felt.

What currently helps me is to fill in a diary, only a short sentence or two per day, each night. It allows me to look back at both busy and quiet days and celebrate achievements, even when it feels like nothing at the time.

On a hard day, I know that if I just managed to get out of bed, or showered or did some colouring, I have accomplished something important for my wellbeing.

For me, SAD isn’t going to simply ‘go away’, but I am always eager to find and try out new ways to help me cope.”

Kim’s tips

Be gentle with yourself. Don’t put pressure on yourself to complete a to-do list and adapt your routine as needed instead.

Keep the curtains closed on gloomy day and use lights – I love fairy lights! – to obscure the weather outside.

Open the windows – fresh air will make you feel less claustrophobic and weighed down.

Try mindful exercises, like listening to the rain when trying to sleep or relax.

HOUSE PLANTS! When everything out of the window looks really dull and colourless, plants, cacti and succulents make indoors feel like a tropical jungle.

Take control with
The Worry Tree

We often have worries that seem to distract our day to day
life. You may feel out of control, or feel like you need to keep worrying
because it feels useful – or that bad things might happen if you stop.

There are always practical steps we can take that will make us feel more
in control of our worries. This worry tree may help you get to the bottom
of those intrusive thoughts.

It’s helpful to think about the kind of worry you have, as they can
normally be separated into two categories: hypothetical situations and
current problems.

Hypothetical situations are those “what if…?” thoughts about some terrible
event that might happen. “My partner is late home – what if
they’ve had an accident?” or “The ozone layer has holes – what if the end
of the world happens soon?”. These thoughts are usually followed by
imagining what would happen in those worst-case scenarios. These kind
of worries can cause us a lot of anxiety, when there is perhaps little or
nothing we can do about that situation.

Current problems are those worries that relate to a real situation, that we
CAN do something about. In which case, we can decide what to do,
how – which will be much more helpful than just continually
worrying about it. After using the tree, try writing down the worry and its
outcome. If you feel the worry creeping back in, you can remind yourself
of the decision you made, and bring your focus back to the present.

This toolkit is produced by our partners at Mind Solent. They offer some fantastic training courses to help manage your teams mental health and wellbeing.