February is the PERFECT month for the Family Day holiday. Although we have been blessed with a warmer than typical January, February thus far has been COLD. The cold weather plus the restrictions on gatherings make it perfect for spending time with immediate family—or is it? I have been blessed during this time as my children are all still at home. I have been blessed with time to spend playing board games, and card games as well as the opportunity to practice my conflict resolution skills, but that is a whole different blog topic. During the warmer months there was more opportunity to spread out and in doing so, to see some people outside of the household in a socially distanced, outdoor and safe way. During the warmer months there was less playing of Canasta and Settlers of Catan (a great board game for developing imagination and planning abilities as well as practicing math facts, cooperation and turn taking) and more visiting with others. For those of us who are missing socializing and for those who live alone, the mid winter blues on top of the current levels of restrictions has taken a toll.
If you are struggling: if making meals is feeling hard, or your appetite is either non existent or excessive; if staying on top of tasks feels overwhelming; if you are not enjoying the things that typically bring you pleasure; if you are sleeping way more than is typical or way less than is usual, you are not alone and you can get support. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) works well for dealing with symptoms of anxiety and depression. Don’t continue to suffer—look after yourself and get help. Just like on an airplane you are instructed in the safety talk to get your own oxygen mask on first, you need to be healthy for your family in order to do what you need to for others. I needed an airplane reference because I miss traveling.
Adults are not the only ones who are possibly suffering. Children are missing seeing friends and family; and school has been disrupted more than is typical this year. Children are not immune to anxiety and depressive symptoms but these symptoms often do not look the same as they do in adults. Children and teens can present quite differently than adults when they are struggling with anxiety and depressive symptoms. Children/teens can still present as tired and may not enjoy previously enjoyed activities but often they present as angry—over the top angry! Angry about EVERYTHING!!! The good news is that you can get help for them; cognitive behavioural therapy works for them too. They do not need to continue suffering AND you do not suffer with not knowing what to do and how to help.
Mid winter blues can be bad enough in a typical year; if this year things just seem to be “more” please seek help and get services. February contains Family Day; look after yourself so that you can enjoy the family you have around you. If you, or your child, is not feeling well enough to do those “family” types of things, use this month to do something your family needs; get help, get support. Although both the pandemic and mid winter blues are time limited, the relationships of family are for a lifetime. Take this time to do a health check, and if family time is not what you want it to be, reach out for help.
Written by Registered Psychologist with Wildflowers, Tara Garratt