8 hacks for improving your mental wellbeing in winter

Seasonal Affective Disorder impacts approximately two million people across the UK, and the winter blues can hit any of us. Add coronavirus to the mix, and we may have the toughest season ever to battle through. Here are eight tips to help strengthen you and improve your mood. Always remember that your mental health and wellbeing is just as important as your physical health. 


8 winter wellbeing tips


  1.  Fresh air can help increase your wellbeing in winter as well as summer


Don't let the cold weather keep you from going outside this winter. Even with lockdown or a tier system or whatever plans the government makes throughout winter to stop the spread of covid-19, you are still able to get your daily dose of fresh air. It's a great way to keep a clear head and distract you. Be sure to wrap up warm, especially on colder days, to protect your physical health too.


  1.  Continue to eat the right foods


Winter is often the time of year when the healthy diet plans are thrown to the back of the cupboard and replaced with comfort food. While there is nothing wrong with a few treats here and there, maintaining a healthy diet will keep your mind as well as your body sharp.


  1.  Maintain positive winter wellbeing by staying active


The gyms may be closed, and there are likely to be stringent rules when they reopen, but that shouldn't stop you from exercising regularly. 


You may have to change your fitness regime in the short term, but keeping your body active and getting your blood pumping is a great way to release endorphins and stay positive.  


Is there a temporary substitute, such as hitting the pavement instead of the treadmill, or investing in a yoga mat for at-home sessions? We know it's not the same as going to the gym, but it's essential for your wellbeing that you stay as active as possible.


  1.  Find a new lockdown hobby to stave off winter blues


If you’re feeling down, there’s no better way to distract your mind than by focusing your thoughts on something new and creative. Discovering a new hobby is a fun way to stay positive. Thankfully there hasn’t been the same reaction during this lockdown towards bulk-buying, so you should easily be able to get your hands on ingredients to bake some healthy treats, or perhaps you want to try your hand at knitting or take an online course?


  1.  Stay sociable


We may not be able to meet up with all of the people we usually would, especially in the run-up to Christmas, but we can still hang out with loved ones virtually. 


There’s nothing worse than feeling alone during the winter months, especially if you’re going through a bad time. Talking to someone or even engaging in an online quiz (are we still doing that?) will help to distract you.


  1.  Seek help before the winter blues get too much


If you feel that your mental wellbeing is slipping, know that you aren’t alone. We are all going to struggle more than ever this winter. Don’t be afraid to get some professional help. There are clinics and advice services all over the country that will help you get through these hard times and back on track. 


It may be that it's more than the current situation or the winter blues that is impacting your mood, and if that's the case, then your local GP can help.


  1.  Feel the beat


Music can have a powerful impact on our emotions. So, if you feel in a funk, throw on your favourite song and have a dance. If you have a favourite song or playlist that always puts you in a good mood, play it as many times as you like. And don’t forget that Christmas is starting early this year, and what is more cheerful than a good old Christmas song?


  1.  Get some sun 


Sunlight has a profound effect on happiness and mental state, so, be sure to soak up as much as you can this winter. If you can't get outside or the sun isn't shining, it may be worth investing in a SAD lightbox that will give you the UV rays you need in the warmth and safety of your home.


The winter blues will affect us all in different ways, and with everything that's going on in the world, you may find it hitting you harder than usual. Remember always to be kind and to take care of yourself.