Here is a fact that may shock you: Though the dates marking the beginning and end may vary from year to year and calendar to calendar, winter only ever lasts about three months. Literally.
Winter often feels like it lasts forever, though. Even now, today, when we are well over halfway done with this installment of the season… well, it feels like it is never going to end. It is during these doldrum days of the season where self-care can become extra key.
Now, self-care should always have room in your day-to-day life, but it pays to double down during the winter months – especially when you work on cam.
Back in 2011, the Guardian discussed neuropsychiatrist John Sharpe’s book The Emotional Calendar. The book touches on the ways the progress of the seasons can affect our brain. Things like personal preferences for hot or cold weather, certain memories attached to times of the year (like feeling a dread at the end of summer because you’re reminded of that back-to-school feeling) — little things like this add up to the emotional shifts that can happen in your mind between seasons. So even if you’re not in a bad place when the calendar hits winter, it can still prove a challenge to your headspace.
In addition to your mind, your body — from your immune system to your skin — is affected by the cold weather, too. Cam work can amp up the impact. Long hours spent working from your room at home or a beautifully-yet-intensely lit studio, looking at a screen and being “on,” dry air, cold air — there are as many causes as there are effects when it comes to a case of the winter crud.
So, how can a savvy model tackle that crud and keep her head above water during this frosty season? Here are some basic tips and tricks to help you out with some seasonal self-care.
Something we might not think about that much during winter is drinking water and staying hydrated. It definitely pays to reconsider your views on that point — hydration is just as important during the winter as it is every other time of year.
Get yourself a sturdy, refillable bottle and make sure you get your six to eight glasses of water a day. It can prevent you getting headaches and chapped lips, help combat colds and fever and keep your throat from going croaky and dry, which you definitely don’t want when you are speaking with people online.
Put together a kit of seasonal over-the-counter necessitates
Throat lozenges, tissues, lip balm, vapor rub, essential oils — gather together a couple of little bits and bobs and put together a kit of essentials. And they don’t just have to be from the pharmacy aisle – whatever you consider an essential goes, even tea!
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Take breaks and go outside
Schedule in breaks during your camming day. When break time comes, try to make sure you stick to your schedule and take it. Then, put on your shoes and go for a walk. It doesn’t matter so much where you go, as long as you’re getting some time away from the screen and outside in the fresh air, moving.
In addition to helping clear your head and stretching your limbs, getting out in the natural light will also help you get you some of that all-important vitamin D you might be missing out on. Fifteen minutes of sun, two to three times per week!
Make best friends with a hot water bottle. Let your studio or cam room warm up before you start your day. Take long bath or relax under a hot shower. Embrace throw blankets, thick socks and woolly sweaters. Find a way to weave your winter wardrobe into your shows!
Write it out
According to the U.K.’s mental health charity, MIND, most of us are affected by the change in seasons. It’s normal to feel more cheerful and energetic when the sun is shining and the days are longer, or to find that you eat more or sleep longer in winter — but this can also go deeper.
You may find yourself experiencing a flare-up of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Keep a notebook with you, and try to write out anything you might be feeling, whether to do with your personal life or anything happening during camming hours. Just getting stuff out of your brain and off the page can give you a bit more clarity.
Remember to breathe and be kind to yourself
The Freelance Lifestyle’s Emma Cossey hits on a good point here: Freelancers are notoriously bad at taking breaks. After all, no holiday pay. But what if you hit a wall and find yourself unable to get up and in front of your cam?
Then give yourself permission — permission to step aside, to ask for help, to take a moment just to catch your breath. You are allowed to put yourself first, and that’s not just a winter thing. It’s an all-year-round thing. Know that if it all gets too much and nothing seems to help, it’s okay to step back.
How many days left ’til the end of winter? Here’s a countdown calendar — because it helps to have a goal!
Image via ierland.