The New Year can be a very tough time for people experiencing most any type of grief.
Here are various strategies to improve your mood and take good care of yourself…even during the winter months. From a Body Aware Grieving perspective, we always look at what is happening with our bodies and find more ways to address our physical and emotional needs.
Let’s take some of these issues one at a time and find some physical, social, and emotional remedies for the ‘winter blues’. First, we can focus on our bodies. No matter what else is happening it is important to ask yourself:
**Am I staying warm enough?
Cold weather can make muscles very contracted and tight with a tendency for the shoulders to pull forward and down. Just being in this position over time can bring on a sense of being stressed, closed, and literally and physically pulled inward. Try finding ways to warm up enough to where your muscles can be relaxed, mobile, and flexible. Have you tried taking a hot shower or bath, or enjoyed a steam room or sauna? A crowded, warm location like a cafe with a fireplace to help yourself thaw out completely could also be idea.
**Do I have access to fresh air, nature and light?
Just being indoors for too long, especially if you are breathing recycled air in a closed environment, makes it difficult to breath deeply and feel expansive. If you do venture outside when the weather is feeling more frigid, it is a good idea to bundle up in layers that you can easily remove as you become warmer. This may sound silly, but even looking at photos or videos with your favorite natural location (the beach, a forest, the desert?) can break up a sense of feeling stagnant and cooped up inside.
**How can I get more physical activity?
It is very easy to decide to curl up with a book or watch television all winter long. Some level of hibernation and reduced movement during the winter is natural and even part of what can be fun about staying cozy during colder weather. After a while, it is important to mix in some movement. If you are in snow of course there are winter sports like skiing, but if that is not available, how about sledding, a playful snowball fight, or snowshoeing? Indoor exercise options include: yoga and stretching, climbing stairs, sexy/sensual activity, dance and aerobics or gentle strength training.
A great foundation for taking care of yourself can also begin with The Body Aware Grieving Basic Self-Care Questions.
For ways to address and improve some of the other challenges that are common during the colder weather continue reading: