by Annie Nicol, MSW, LSW
Autumn is quickly wrapping up and we soon we will welcome winter. Along with the beautiful colors and chilly weather comes the desire to curl up on the couch with blankets and binge Netflix. While that certainly sounds tempting, given the lack of warm weather and fun outdoor activities, be aware of the toll that social isolation can take on your body and mind!
1. Loneliness can damage your physical health by causing stress hormones to rise, which can lead to poor sleep and a compromised immune system.
2. Being alone for a long period of time without external stimulation can cause your brain to turn inward, which can lead to poor self-esteem without positive social reactions from others. When alone without encouragement and feedback from others, we often imagine the worst.
3. Lack of vitamin D through sunshine and warm weather activities can already be a bummer. Allowing yourself to isolate and engage in “comfort activities” like lying around, eating, and watching TV can result in depression and weight gain, which can lead to lower self-esteem and increase the desire to socially isolate.
Despite the inner drive, it’s important to still get out there! Try to do these things each day to ward off the winter blues:
1. Engage in conversation
2. Exercise in some way
3. Get out of your home environment
Enjoy the season and stay active- and encourage your family members to do the same with you!