Beat the winter blues

by Rachael Wells
Published: Updated:

with these great tips from Stress Management & Well Being Life Coach Rachael Wells

Changing the clocks at the end of October is always a signal to me that we are well and truly into autumn; with winter just around the corner. Whilst a lot of us are happy to take the opportunity to ‘hibernate’, with cosy evenings in front of the fire; not everyone finds this time of year easy.

The reduction in daylight time and poor light levels can have a major impact on people’s mental health and well being. 2 million people in the UK are affected by SAD (Seasonal affective disorder)—a condition that primarily effects people during the winter months. Try some of my tips and beat those winter blues!

Plan ahead

The positive thing about the nights drawing in is that we know it’s going to happen! Take control over the situation by forward planning. Make sure you have plenty of things in the diary, meeting up with friends, trips out, local walks; or home-based projects for when the weather’s poor. Begin this early and stay ahead of the game. Make sure they are things you enjoy, include activities that raise your energy levels like a brisk walk or a swim.

Stay connected

It’s easy to feel cut off from other people when we drawn the curtains and put on the lights at 4pm. Humans are naturally sociable; they thrive on being with others so naturally it follows that being more isolated doesn’t help mood. Feeling you are part of a community helps improve well being. In September there’s always lots of new things going on at local community centres and colleges. Check out the night classes or start a new interest by joining a local club. Research has found that showing kindness and compassion to other people gives our well-being a massive boost. Winter can be a very isolating time for folks who live alone or are not mobile. So it’s a great opportunity to look in on an elderly neighbour; ask them if they need any shopping, or ask if they’d like to call round for a cuppa.

Engage with nature

One of the top self-help recommendations for improving mood is to get outside and spend time with nature. A short local walk, even for only 20 minutes in an area where there is greenery, wildlife or even better, near water can make an instant difference to your sense of well-being. Why not find out about your local public footpaths and start exploring what’s on your doorstep?

Look after your physical health

Keep a closer eye on diet and exercise during the colder months. With longer evenings at home, it’s easy to eat more stodge, at a time when we are naturally less active. It requires motivation to exercise but it maybe get a friend on board, or join a walking club? Even making sure you have a proper dinner break at work and accessing that all important fresh air and exercise for 20 minutes a day will make a world of difference to your mental health and help you sleep better!

Rachael Wells
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