Shorter days and colder temperatures can really affect our mental health. Since our freedom is more restricted, it can be tough to stay positive. We look at some of the ways to cope during winter.
1. Get physical
Looking after our physical health helps to take care of our mental health. If you can go for a walk or a run then continue to do so. Feeling the air on your face, even if it’s chilly, is a great tonic. If you can’t go out then try staying active at home. You could have a go at a Joe Wicks workout or maybe try an online yoga class.
You don’t need tons of pricey equipment either. Simply make use of items you already have. Food cans or water bottles make excellent weights. Exercising needn’t cost a penny. Just be careful not to injure yourself.
2. Stay mentally active
Keep your mind busy. Get a mental workout with puzzles such as Sudoku, or aim to complete a crossword each day. You’ll find all sorts of puzzles online, or download apps such as Elevate which test your mental agility. Elevate has a premium option which you don’t need to buy - just use the free version. Involve friends or family by taking it in turns to create quizzes. Do it virtually if you’re in separate households. It’s great fun and doesn’t cost a penny.
3. Create a harmonious environment (and maybe make some money)
We’re all spending more time in the house at the moment, so it’s important to be happy with your surroundings. Take the time to have a good winter organise and declutter. If you don’t need something then get rid of it. You can recycle it where possible, or try selling it to make some money on the side. It doesn’t have to cost anything to sell your items. Facebook Marketplace is a great place to start. Save any money you make and look forward to spending it on something you really want.
4. Take up a new hobby
Now could be a great time to learn a new language or skill. Crochet is really popular at the moment, but you could learn knitting or needlework too. There are lots of online courses and videos that don’t cost anything to try. You could be crocheting a winter scarf in no time.
If languages are more your thing, then try Duolingo. You can do it on your computer or by downloading the app to your phone. Choose from thirty-six languages including Dutch, Korean, and even Klingon. Doing a little bit each day could significantly improve your language skills.
5. Put your headphones in
Instead of scrolling on your phone, try listening to a new podcast. Podcasts are an excellent way to learn something new. A chatty podcast can often be comforting when you’re missing the people you usually see and help with feelings of loneliness.
If a podcast isn’t for you, you could download an audiobook to listen to instead.
6. Nurture your green fingers
If you wanted to do something productive, you could have a go at curating a winter vegetable patch. Seeds can be very affordable and widely available online from sellers such as B&Q. During the winter months, have a go at growing seasonal veg like carrots, leeks and onions. If you don’t have a garden then try growing something indoors - lettuce or colourful chilli peppers are a good place to start.
7. Talk to someone
According to the NHS, 1 in 15 people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. It’s usually linked to a lack of sunlight which is why it’s also known as the “winter blues”. If you wonder why you seem to feel down more during winter, this could be why. If you're finding the winter months more difficult, make sure you reach out to friends and family about how you feel. Speak to your GP if you're finding it hard to cope.
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