It’s no secret that the colder, darker winter months can influence our mental health, with research showing many of us become affected in some way or another. Whether it’s exercising, keeping up with a routine or creating new habits, there’s many ways in which we could help ourselves, and one another, boost and protect our wellbeing. Here are a few tips and ideas if you or someone you know could do with a helping hand.
Staying connected may seem easy with social media, however some ways of connecting with others are better than others. A simple text to a loved one can make a difference to someone who may be struggling as it lets them know you’re thinking about them. Why not even go a step further and give them a call or meet up with them - you’ll share a lot more than you would over social media and talking is a good way to tackle a problem you might be carrying around.
The shorter days and darker nights can feel trickier when it comes to keeping our day-to-day activities going, and that can have a significant impact on our wellbeing. Finding ways to exercise and being outside can help us feel more refreshed and more energised. Having a routine can help us feel better – being up early, eating at regular mealtimes and going to bed at the same time. Why not put activities into your diary, or reminders on your phone the day before so you know you’ve allocated time to the things that make you happy or stable. Importantly though, don’t beat yourself up if you don’t manage it – it’s ok not to be active all the time.
Doing things you enjoy is one of our most important tips as it’s great for our mental health to take time to enjoy ourselves each day – even if it’s a short amount of time, like 10 minutes! How about reading, watching that movie you never got round to, learning a new recipe, playing with your pet, going for a walk or even starting a jigsaw puzzle. It can also be a good idea to try something new, get creative or even dust off an old hobby.
Writing things down can be a great way to explore ideas and organise our thoughts. It can help us plan our day, express our worries and understand our feelings. This time of year is also a great time to plan our future goals and prepare for the new year. So why not grab a notebook or a journal and jot down any ideas you may have. One great exercise is to pick up a diary for the year, and each day just jot down one thing that made you happy.
Taking the downtime you need is just as important for our wellbeing. If there is an evening when all you want to do is snuggle down with a blanket – that’s fine. Sometimes our bodies just need a bit of rest to recover, and help us feel motivated for the next day.
These are only a handful of tips in which we could protect our wellbeing. We all tackle our problems differently and will have a variety of ways in which we respond to them. The most important thing is to try to be kind to ourselves as much as possible and to not be afraid to speak up about any concerns we may have.