Staying well in the winter months
As we move through autumn towards winter the shorter, colder days are settling in, and some of us may find ourselves feeling low or fighting off ill health. Whilst many people simply prefer the warmer, brighter months, others may suffer from a more specific condition such as winter depression, also called seasonal affective disorder. Add to this the continuing impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, and we think it’s safe to say that taking some time for self-care is even more important this winter. But don’t be too disheartened, for there are lots of things we can do to boost our mood and stay healthy in the darker days, and we’ve shared a few of them below.
Embrace natural light
Natural light can be a very effective mood booster. Try and get out in the daylight for a little every day, even if it’s just for a short walk around the block or wander in your garden.
If getting outside is more difficult, make sure to open your curtains wide and let as much natural light into the home as possible. Take some time to relax and sit by a window and take a look at the day.
Stay active in body and mind
Getting regular exercise and engaging in even light physical activity can help to improve your mood as well as helping you to stay healthy. Try to take a short walk or bike ride every day, or if you have an exercise bike or similar at home, dust it off and get peddling!
It’s also important to keep your mind active as well as your body. Diving into a new book can be a great way to unwind and also stretch your imagination, and playing games with friends and family, whether in person or online, is a great way to both connect and get your mind working.
Keep in touch
Contact with others is important, and can be a real boost when we are feeling low. Whilst it can be difficult right now to meet friends and even family in person, we still have so many options for staying in touch, whether by phone or text, video calls or messages, or even by putting pen to paper and sending an actual letter. Checking in with each other in times like these is important, and sometimes simply saying ‘hi’ can change someone’s day from bad to great.
Give yourself things to look forward to
Plan in some treats for yourself, and give yourself the space and time to enjoy them. This can be as simple a thing as setting aside an afternoon to relax and read a book, or catch up on that series everyone has been telling you to watch, or something more expensive like treating yourself and your partner to a nice meal or even decorating a room. The important thing is to plan something that will make you smile, and make sure you stick to that plan.
The colder seasons can be dark and chilly, but that also makes them the perfect time to cosy up indoors. Keep your home well heated, perhaps invest in a portable heater for efficiency and mobility or an electric fire for a really sense of comfort. Find your favourite spot at home, or perhaps rearranges things to create the perfect cosy corner to cuddle up with a pet or a book.
Food can also be another great way to feel cosy in the colder months. But try to resist the temptation to always fill up on unhealthy comfort food - the occasional treat is okay, but it’s important to keep eating healthily, getting your daily dose of fruit and veg. Whether it’s a hearty soup or stew or a family favourite recipe, a good meal doesn’t need to be expensive and can bring a warmth of comfort in the winter chill.