Beating the Blues: Nurturing Well-Being in Winter
As farmers, there’s a general understanding of the ebb and flow of the seasons, with the cycles of planting and harvesting governing much of our lives. However, when winter arrives, the challenges faced by farmers can quickly extend beyond crops and machinery, reaching into the realms of mental and emotional well-being.
Understanding ‘The Winter Blues’
The winter season brings with it a combination of lifestyle, financial, and biological factors that can impact our mood and well-being. Around this point of the winter especially, post-holiday comedown, financial pressures, isolation due to weather conditions, disruptions in routine, and uncertainties in agricultural planning all contribute to a general sense of unease. Biologically, reduced sunlight disrupts our internal clock or circadian rhythm, leading to increased melatonin production and decreased serotonin levels, making it challenging for our brains to find happiness.
In other words, if you find yourself questioning what might be wrong with you this time of year, it’s important to recognize that these biological responses to winter, coupled with lifestyle changes, collectively contribute to mood fluctuations, and play a significant role in not feeling like your usual self.
The Five Aspects of Well-Being:
On January 15th, often dubbed “Blue Monday,” Farm Safety Nova Scotia organized a workshop, ‘Beating the Blues: Breakfast & Learn,’ in collaboration with Five Star Wellbeing, to address well-being and mental health. Derrick McEachern and Emily Feil emphasized the importance of addressing all areas of well-being: purpose, social, connections, financial stability, physical health, and community involvement.
- Set Meaningful daily goals and activities.
- Find joy in your work and have objectives to look forward to each day.
- Work on developing and maintaining positive, supportive relationships.
- Prioritize spending time with loved ones, to help combat feelings of isolation.
- Engage in regular, responsible financial practices for stability.
- Cultivate optimism about your financial future.
- Ensure good physical health through regular exercise.
- Engage in activities that bring you joy and maintain your energy levels.
- Foster emotional and physical safety.
- Connect with others, creating a sense of belonging within your community.
As we navigate the winter months, it’s crucial to recognize and address the challenges that may affect our well-being. The Five Star Wellbeing workshop highlighted the interconnected nature of our well-being, emphasizing that neglecting one area can negatively impact the others.
This winter, take a moment to ask yourself, “Is there an area of my well-being that may need a bit of extra care?” Consider trying out Five Star Wellbeing’s self-assessment tool to find out: https://fivestarwellbeing.com/wellbeing-assessment/
By being intentional about nurturing our sense of purpose, social connections, financial practices, physical health, and community involvement, we can better equip ourselves to weather the winter blues and cultivate a positive snowball effect that extends beyond the season.