Full disclosure, I’m looking out my office window at the falling snow as I’m writing this. Just as the winter weather can be a beautiful reminder of nature’s beauty, it can also be difficult for people going through the grief process.
While experiencing grief is hard in any season, it seems to be particularly tough during what can often be a dreary season with cold temperatures and bad weather. People experiencing grief will often “hibernate”, both physically and emotionally to insulate themselves away from the outside world. We know that being alone too much can impact you both physically and emotionally, so there may need to be a concerted effort to continue to reach out to others.
Even those who aren’t experiencing the loss of a loved one may still be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which often happens this time of year and may lead to a lower energy level and depression. So, what can be done to help counterbalance these effects? The first thing to remember is to give yourself a break; know that this is a process and it’s not going to happen overnight. Winter will change into spring, and as is often said, you can change from just surviving to thriving.
Some other practical things to practice during the winter months: make sure you get outside at least once a day, open the blinds and let the sunshine in (on those days where that bright glowing orb in the sky makes an appearance!), try to make at least one phone call a day to a friend/colleague/family member, and look into purchasing a simple light box to help offset the effects of SAD (Amazon has several to choose from).
The Joseph T. Quinlan Bereavement Center is open for in-person, phone, and Zoom sessions. For more information, please call us at 973-948-2283 to speak with a counselor with any questions you may have regarding our individual counseling or to schedule an appointment.