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How to take care of your mental wellbeing this winter 

Posted on 12 October 2022


As it's World Mental Health Day this week, we have compiled five tips to help you beat the winter blues and protect your mental wellbeing.  

  1. Soak in the daylight 

Lack of exposure to sunlight in the winter means that many people experience Seasonal Affective Disorder, which can have a negative impact on sleep and mood, as well as appetite and energy levels for things like exercise. If you feel low in winter, get outside as often as you can, especially on bright days. Going for a walk every day will help maximise your exposure to daylight and it’s an effective way to get some gentle exercise. Even sitting by a window can help in the short term. 

  1. Stay social 

Cold dark evenings can make us want to hibernate, but it’s important for our mental health to have social events to look forward to. Schedule in time to catch up with family and friends. You can always reach out to loved ones with a text, a phone call or video chat; or sending a handwritten card is a thoughtful gesture that will brighten someone’s day. It’s also worth checking in with your neighbours to see how they’re getting on and if they need any help. Small acts of kindness can make a significant difference and the act of helping is mentally rewarding.  

For more on this, read our recent article: ‘Socialising on a budget’.  

  1. Keep active 

Exercise may be the last thing on your mind, but it’s essential for our physical and mental health to keep active throughout the winter. Check out our other articles for tips on how to make exercise part of your daily routine: 

  1. Practice good sleep hygiene 

Experiencing less daylight can disturb our sleep cycle, leaving us feeling tired and sluggish. Try to expose yourself to as much light as possible in the morning – this will tell your body clock that it is the right time to be awake. This will also translate into an easier time falling asleep at night, and more refreshing, restorative rest. If you are struggling to get up in the mornings, try setting up your routine the night before. This could be as simple as having your dressing gown and slippers ready by the bed to make getting up easier. You can also put your clothes on the radiator overnight, so they are nice and warm when you put them on. 

  1. Lean into winter  

It’s not all doom and gloom – there are plenty of good things about winter too. Embrace the changing seasons with activities like walks in the countryside, cooking a roast dinner, and snuggling on the sofa with a film. This is your chance to enjoy big woolly jumpers, warming winter food, real fires, and frosty mornings.  

If you found this helpful, why not check out our article Tips to help embrace the changing seasons – Personal Group  

If you are struggling with your mental health and need urgent support, remember you can always contact the mental health charity, Mind. They have a wealth of resources to help you feel better throughout the year. You may also be entitled to workplace support. Ask your manager if they offer an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). An EAP provides 24/7 access to trained advisors who can answer your concerns and give you actionable advice. Alternatively, you can schedule a face-to-face or phone session with a professional counsellor. 

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