It finally happened. I had a little meltdown. After months of cancelled plans, I reached my breaking point. And yes, I’m being vulnerable here. From weddings that were two years in the making, graduations with pomp and circumstance, to 10-year anniversary celebrations, Covid-19 has wiped out many events we were all looking forward to and making memories we cherish the most.

While some have accepted and love their new slow and simple life, I look at the emptiness of my social calendar and I too, feel empty. And while I understand I need to create some space to grieve the cancelled events and should find gratitude in my new found open calendar…. I worry about my own mental health and the winter months soon to come. Which leads me to worry about all of you. 🧡

With the pandemic expected to drag into the winter and through the holiday months, this week our challenge is for all of you, me included, to begin to think of ways we can prepare to get through the winter season and take care of our mental well-being. Ask yourself this question, “In a month or two, what would I wish I had done right now to make myself more happy and comfortable?” Here are a few ideas to get you started.

• Build up your resilience by fully enjoying the now. Hold on tight to every last warm’ish day this fall. Bundle up and sit on your porch or deck for socially distanced snacks or cocktail hours.
• Soak up as much sunlight as you can. Always open the blinds, sit and read in the sun and if you can, get outside during your lunch break for a quick walk. You may also want to talk to your doctor about light therapy!
• Schedule recurring virtual social hangouts now. When the pandemic first hit, many people connected virtually with friends and family regularly and when summer came, this slowed. Fall is the perfect time to schedule regular check-ins and start to build this self-care practice into your life again.
• Create a friend Chat Group now so you have a place established where you can quickly turn if you need to reach out and connect. This chat meet up space can be a place to share jokes or memes, ask what show you should start binging or even what to make for dinner.
• Acknowledge social distancing and masking and begin to brainstorm ways you can celebrate the holidays with friends and family. Starting the conversation early will give everyone time to adjust to new expectations and allow for planning of virtual get-togethers.
• Think about ways to give back. Do a little bit of research and then make a plan on how you can help those in your community. Whether it’s scheduling monthly blood donations or delivering groceries to neighbors, helping others can bring you a wonderful sense of fulfillment and joy.
• Start a conversation now with your healthcare provider and ask for a recommendation on a licensed therapist. In the event you may need to talk to someone this winter, you will already have someone in mind and possibly, monthly check-ins already scheduled. Remember, this can be virtual too! And while you’re at it, take care of as many medical appointments now so this is not an additional stressor should the state impose a lockdown again.
• Lastly, think about investigating other activities you can do virtually from home such as virtual tours, games and escape rooms and even free online classes!

Finally, just do your best. Find the things that comfort you and ask for help if you need it. Steeping Wellness will always be here for you and we truly hope some of the ideas we’ve shared will help you prepare to “hunker down” again this winter and be a source of self-care during these ever-changing times. #steepingsundays