Pandemic Winter Blues Health Coaching Session February 2011
In a dark and cold winter night, you can’t sleep. Your thoughts are flowing –
The COVID 19 infection and death toll hits a new record high in January, with new strains quickly spreading, you are worried about the risks for going out even just for buying food. Frustrations from the slow rolling out of vaccines as well as concerns for vaccine safety, you are busy searching availability and new safety updates. Your routine medical and dental care are past due but you have been putting it off, you have canceled all your travel and social events for a year now……
There are too many upsetting news lately – political riots, violence, depressed economy, unemployment, life is more challenging and stressful……
The winter is cold and depressing. The bad news chills your heart……
You get up with your tired body and foggy brain to start your morning and getting worse each day. As this vicious cycle continues, your body will react physically.
Illnesses are in when your immune system weakens. It is clinically evident that stress induce many central nervous system and hormonal changes psychologically and physiologically. Body will not lie to you and you feel the pain. Negative emotions such as anger, sadness, fear, anxiety, hostile, insecure, often involves or lead to health issues. The physical symptoms are real, but you may not realize or believe where they came from.
Fear for COVID 19 is realistic. It’s been a year and it has not been easy for everyone. By now, everyone may know someone became the victim or lost life in the pandemic. With the winter surge and the new strain mutation, the global crisis over shadows us. The most common places (80%) of COVID transmissions happens in these common places in our daily life – restaurants/cafes, bars, hotels, parties, and houses of worship. Don’t go even they are open. The two high risk factors are crowds and indoors. Avoid crowds and large gatherings. People needed to adjust to a new normal to reduce the risk of spreading the disease from everyday activities. Each one of us are to do our part in preventing virus transmission.
Anxiety, depression and mood imbalances are skyrocketed amid the pandemic. For many people, the pandemic means our social networks and support systems become disconnected, which may impact pre-existing accountability structures, such as gym workout/classes, regular health care visits, or haircut/beauty solon appointments. With disruptions in these networks, many are less motivated to keep up with optimal eating habits, fitness routine, even personal grooming. Be aware of symptoms of depression — even in people who have never been diagnosed before — which can include low mood, lack of interest in enjoyable activities, changes in appetite or sleep and fatigue. Loneliness is commonly associated with depression and also can be a chronic disease of its own. Many people have strong lonely feelings during quarantine and from social distancing. You don’t feel like doing much, as loneliness is demotivating.
Strategies to deal with pandemic winter blues:
1. Mindset determines your mentality. In this unprecedented time, situations are out of your control. Stay informed – follow the trusted resources and build your confidence based on health literacy. Weed out myths and negative views. Adapt to the pandemic changes and prepare for some changes may become permanent. Take good care of yourself is your accountability to reduce the COVID surge. Follow the CDC guidelines - Wear a face mask, observe social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with, practice good hand/personal hygiene, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, to protect your life and the lives of others.
2. I trust you have gone through a lot on you own. No one can be there for you at ALL times in your life, even parents or spouse. Deep in your heart, you are often alone with or without others’ presence. Loneliness exists in a corner of life like your shadow. This is normal and acceptable. As you reaching a mature stage, you are able to enjoy being alone, learn how to live on your own, with a strong purpose of life. On the other hand, always expecting someone’s accompany will likely ends up with disappointment. Feeling insecure or fearing for to be alone may suggest age regression or early signs of dementia in old age.
Learn a new loneliness definition for a mindset re-set:
What is loneliness? It is a personal freedom.
What is freedom? the joy for being alone.
3. Calm down your mind from anxious thoughts. You can master this easier on your own and find internal strength. As reported, 90% of illnesses are related to our own negative emotions and positive emotions are essential for healing.
4. Loneliness is not quietness. If you don’t like the silence, then make some noise – sing, listen to music or play a musical instrument, or just get up to do a work out or some work around the house. As long as you are moving, you will make some noise. Focus on the “now” moment - a project of your choice (music practice, craft, house project, etc) with undivided attention.
5. At certain age, you became less talkative. This is normal in the process of maturity. In fact, 50% talking (to others) is unnecessary and another 50% is useless. While having someone to share how you feel can make you happier, learning to express yourself and let go of negative emotions in art and music (singing, play piano/guitar, drawing/painting), physical activities (workout, gardening), or into the nature (outdoor walk, bird watching, fresh air breath) may be more enjoyable and satisfying.
6. Practice self-compassion and tread yourself with healthy nutrients
Only buy quality foods and find new way for meal preparation. Be creative in the kitchen and share the fun with others.
Well plan your one person meal, you are worth of the best. Enrich your menu for healthy selections with good taste. Indulge occasionally is OK, follow the 80/20 rule (eat healthy 80% and eat for pleasure for 20%).
Eat elegantly with table set-up, fine china, and food presentations (in multi colors and small portions); enjoy it slowly and mindfully.
Set up a routine (i.e., time restricted feeding) and be consistent. Eat with a healthy purpose. Healthy foods give you healthy energy. To learn more about healthy eating, protein, fat, carbohydrates, click links for details.
7. Remember quality sleep plus quality food is the best remedy for boost your immune system against COVID 19 and all other illnesses. Master relaxation skills and calm down your anxious mind and go to Sleep Well to learn more.
You can stop the sleepless tonight. When you go to bed, no worries for situations that are not happening or you don’t have control of. What is real and under your control is your mind and body wellness. Don’t let negative emotions overwhelm you. Maintain your peaceful heart and positive mind, even in the dark winter nights. You know the spring is coming.
Disclaimer: This information is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not medical advice. Consult your healthcare professional for personal conditions.
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