Posted on: 20 November 2020
As we head into winter, the cold weather and lack of daylight can take a toll on our mental health. Beat the winter blues with our five tips to protect your mental wellbeing.
Lack of exposure to sunlight in the winter means that many people experience Seasonal Affective Disorder, which can have a significant 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 a good way to get some gentle exercise. Even sitting by a window can help in the short term.
- 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, even if it has to be remotely. You can always reach out to loved ones with a text, a phone call or video chat; or sending a handwritten card is a nice gesture that will bring a smile to someone’s day.
It’s also worth checking in with your neighbours (socially distanced of course) to see how they’re getting on and if they need any help. Small acts of kindness can make a big difference and the act of helping out will improve your own mental wellbeing.
- Keep active
Again, when it’s cold and dark the last thing you want to do is head out for exercise; but it’s so important 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:
- Enjoying, not enduring the 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 – so make the most!
- Sleep schedule
Experiencing less daylight can mess with 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’s 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’re struggling to get up in the mornings, have your dressing gown and slippers ready by the bed to make getting up less painful. You can also put your clothes on the radiator overnight, so they are nice and warm when you put them on.
If you found this helpful, why not check out our article on Staying well this winter – physical wellbeing