HR Tips: Mental Health and Self-Care in December

It’s called “the most wonderful time of the year”... but in truth, it’s not wonderful for everyone. Many people find winter, in particular, a tough time. With shorter days, less sunlight, and colder weather, some people can feel depressed. At such times, self-care becomes even more essential.

This year especially, things may seem even more difficult. The COVID-19 pandemic has seen many parts of the country under tough restrictions, limiting our social connections and creating feelings of uncertainty and anxiety. We’re well into December, and we still don’t know exactly what the festive period will look like, which is challenging for many people.

It’s important to remember that although we’re living through unusual and difficult times, they won’t last forever. And, if you’re feeling stressed, worried, or in a difficult emotional state, that’s entirely understandable given the circumstances. Recognizing these feelings and taking positive steps can help.

Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness is the state of being fully aware of yourself and your surroundings, without judging either. Although that seems like a fairly simple concept, with the world as busy and constantly connected as it is, taking a step back can be difficult.

Mindfulness can help to decrease stress, improve your wellbeing, boost your creativity and memory, and help with your mental health.

Get outside
When the weather is a bit colder, we might be tempted to stay indoors more than usual. If you’re able to get out for a walk during the day, it can help. Fresh air and sunlight can help reduce stress, make you feel more relaxed, and improve your physical health.

Eat well 
In the colder months of the year, it’s easy to fall into relying solely on comfort foods to get nourish us. Throw in things like Christmas dinners, leftovers, and holiday treats like boxes of chocolate and fancy decorated cookies, and it’s easy to write off December entirely. It’s important to keep in mind that a healthy and balanced diet is an essential part of self-care all year round. 

There are many benefits that come with exercise - it reduces the occurrence of conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, as well as lowering your risk of early death. Exercise is also excellent for your mental health, helping to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.

Express gratitude 
Gratitude is another seemingly straightforward concept. Most of us are grateful for one thing or another in our lives. However, this apparently simple emotion can be a powerful self-care tool. There is a growing body of evidence to show that expressing gratitude can help with your physical and mental health. 

Limit your screen time
It’s easy to get caught up in the continuous news cycle at the moment. Developing stories, whether about the coronavirus pandemic or otherwise, can keep you glued to your TV or devices. Although it’s good to keep informed about the latest developments, you should try to limit your screen time in this respect. Continuously refreshing the page or obsessively checking for new updates can leave you feeling drained and anxious. Reducing your screen time in general also brings several benefits. It can help to reduce eye strain, prevent headaches, improve your sleep, and boost your focus. 


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