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There is a light at the end of the tunnel, but as with most things, the final stretch can be the most difficult.
 
Nearly a year into lockdown staying isolated hasn’t become much easier for many of us. Instead of the stir crazy feeling we had the first month or so into the pandemic, many of us feel tired and overwhelmed, like we’ve hit a wall 11 months into this very long journey.
 
Experts are calling it “lockdown fatigue.” Frigid weather and short days don’t help either.
 
The past few weeks have felt like the winter blues on steroids.
 
It’s during these times that true self-care can be the most important. In her new book “Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times” writer Katherine May reminds us that while harsh, winters — the season and our own personal bouts of hardship —  can be a glorious time of healing.
 
The key to getting through a personal winter, she says, is to embrace the sadness, which is something self-care culture often leaves by the wayside. Yes, we journal and we face mask and we hope that those will be cures for stress and sadness, but sometimes what we really need is rest and to allow ourselves to feel. It’s okay to lean into it!
 
In Wintering, May writes of how she slowed down during her winters and listened to herself, letting go of those harsh self-criticisms that are especially easy these days. On tough days, when the mental fog of lockdown fatigue really sets in and the couch is the easiest place to be, remember how important rest is.
 
Lighting a candle or reaching for your comfiest robe are easy ways to hit pause during an overwhelming time. And when the dry, cold season literally becomes too much, a facial steam and a hand mask can go a long way.
 
If spring is all about renewal and new growth, then winter is about doing things that help us get there. During difficult times, especially now, staying connected is still important, even when it’s challenging. Reach out to your support groups or a professional to talk to. Take some time to re-establish your work from home set up, too. With as much as we’re living on the fly right now, having some routine will help.
 
Finally, experts encourage getting some sunshine. If it’s just too cold for a quarantine walk, an afternoon working by the window will do just fine.
 
Kara Mason is a writer based in Colorado. She loves musky-scented candles, exploring the Southwest and her two family labradors, Annie and Jase.

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