Winter can be a challenging time of year even without the fears of Omicron and another impending lockdown. The days are shorter and the nights are colder – even with holiday cheer giving many of us something to look forward to, it can be hard to stay happy and in control of our wellbeing during the winter.
In light of that, here’s 5 of our top tips for staying mentally healthy during the winter:
Socialising is one of the best ways to stay mentally healthy during these months – which is of course easier said than done during a global pandemic. There are some ways that you can keep in touch with other people even now, however. Reach out to the people you know and check in on them – they may well be having a tough time, and they’ll appreciate you reaching out to them. You could also consider setting up a Zoom meeting with the people you’re close to, or sign up for a virtual group to meet new friends.
Take up a new hobby
Distracting yourself can be one of the best remedies for winter blues. What better way to do it than by taking up something new that you enjoy? Think of something you’ve been meaning to try for a while, and take that first step. It could be a lot of fun, and you’ll have a new hobby under your belt to enjoy. It can really help to focus on something other than your mood when you’re feeling low, especially if it’s by doing something you enjoy.
The science is well known – exercise improves our mental health as well as our physical health. It releases endorphins, improves our confidence and releases stress. It can also be a good distraction – a fun activity to keep your mind off other things. If you’re looking to exercise at home and not sure where to start, check out our Home Workouts lead by The Harlequins Foundation’s Wellbeing Manager, Hollie Smith.
Spend time outside – when you can
Catching what sunlight we can during the winter months is especially important – it’s a good source of Vitamin D, which can help regulate your mood as well as boost your immune system. If you have a back garden, consider going out once a day to catch some rays, or stand outside your front door. You could even go on a walk once a day and get in some exercise at the same time!
Be kind to yourself
It’s perfectly natural to feel down during the winter months – and sometimes it’s unavoidable. Accepting that you’re having a rough time instead of kicking yourself when you’re down can really help, especially in the long term. Take a step back, think about why you’re feeling down, and remind yourself that it is completely normal to have off days.