Some of us can struggle with our mental health and wellbeing during the colder months, especially amid the pressures of the festive season.
It’s OK to feel a bit down or overwhelmed sometimes, and if you’re looking for ways to look after your wellbeing at this challenging time of year, we’re here to help.
Whether you make one change or 21, here are some tips based on the 5 Ways to Better Wellbeing that might help you feel better this winter.
Staying connected may seem easy with social media and new technology, but some ways of connecting may be better for our wellbeing than others. While a simple text can make a difference to someone who is struggling as it lets them know you’re thinking about them, reaching out in other ways can form a more meaningful connection.
Every now and then, try to make it a phone or video call rather than an email or text, or meet up in person with that friend you haven't seen in a while. You’ll share a lot more than you would over social media and talking can be a good way to tackle any worries you've been carrying around.
And if you know someone who might be lonely or on their own over Christmas, why not spend some time with them?
Try to stay active
The shorter days, colder weather and darker nights can put many of us off getting outside as much. But finding ways to exercise and get outside can help protect your mental wellbeing, as well as keeping you physically fitter. You may find just a little bit of movement can go a long way to helping you feel better.
Why not take up an online exercise class, or go out on a daily walk during your lunch break to make the most of the daylight? If you’re struggling to stay motivated, see if you can find an exercise buddy to take along with you!
With so much going on it is important we appreciate what’s happening now, and try not to dwell on the past or worry about the future. This can be tricky, especially at such a busy time of year, so it can help to start small, like noticing something that can make you smile – your favourite tree, a neighbourhood cat – each time you leave the house, or putting away your devices when spending time with loved ones to focus fully on them.
Why not try a mindfulness session, or put a mindfulness book on your Christmas list? It can be a great way to de-stress and train our brain to be in the moment. You may also want to consider creating a self-care box, filled with some of your favourite feel-good things to remind you to take time out to relax, when you can. The box is unique to you, but ideas might include a cosy blanket, a cheery film, a journal, or some scented candles.
Learning can be fun, and also increases our confidence, whether that’s through studying, discovering a new hobby or getting creative. This time of year can be ideal to curl up with a good book or start crafting – from knitted jumpers to homemade Christmas presents!
Smaller projects work just as well: maybe you could try out a new recipe and share it with someone you care about? Or just take some time out to listen to a podcast or learn how to use a new gadget.
It feels rewarding to give something back. And that something doesn’t have to be money; you could write a thank you letter, or pay someone a compliment. You may find yourself with extra time off over the holidays, so why not use some of it to volunteer for a cause you feel passionate about?
Even small acts of kindness have been proven to boost our mood and improve wellbeing. Perhaps you can buy an extra item for your weekly shop and donate it to a foodbank? Maybe there is an event you can support in your local community, or you could help out a friend or a neighbour for a few hours. Whatever you choose, no good deed is too small – and it will allow that festive spirit to shine through!