Take on the winter blues

Look after your mental health

Let’s face it, dreary grey mornings don’t fill you with get up and go. It can be hard to get energized on winter days. This is also the time of year that around 2 million people in the UK suffer with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD for short), leaving them feeling more down and less motivated. Whether you suffer from SAD, or just need a few tips on building your winter resilience, we’ve taken some useful advice from the NHS.

You probably guessed we’d start with exercise! But joking aside, all the experts agree that being active boosts your mental wellbeing as well as your physical health. Even a small amount of movement is great, so make that extra effort to get to the gym and be kind to your mind too.

How about trying a new class? Having a set time to be at the gym can help you stick to it. A new hobby is also a great way to occupy and engage your mind. If you don’t want to take on more exercise, try journaling, or baking, or anything else that takes your fancy.

You could try an outdoor activity, as lack of natural sunlight is thought to have a negative effect on our mental health. Some people use lightboxes to combat this, but they can be very expensive. Try getting out in the fresh air, especially on brighter days, to boost your exposure to natural light

If you do head out, wrap up warm. Staying warm can help to keep the blues at bay. You could wrap yourself up on the sofa in a snuggly blanket with a hot choc, but warming up through exercise is a far healthier alternative.

Why not invite your friends along? Seeing people we care about is good for our mental wellbeing - and theirs too. So say yes to invitations you get, even if you only pop along for a short while.

Don’t forget to keep up a healthy diet too. It’s easy to crave carbs in winter, but eat plenty of fresh fruit and veg for a balanced diet - it’s good for your mental health too.

Of course, what works for one person won’t work for everyone. But trying out some of these tips can help care for your mental wellbeing throughout the winter months. It’s by no means a definitive guide, and the most important thing you can do is to ask for help if you need it. Often, it’s only you that knows you’re really struggling. If you need some extra help or think you may have SAD, you can speak to your GP or to SADA, the UK’s dedicated SAD charity.

And remember, it won’t be long till summer..

If you enjoyed this blog, you may enjoy our "Modern Day Exercise" blog too!

How much exercise should you do a week? Find out what the NHS recommends here.