Mental health: 5 easy ways to protect your wellbeing as the days grow shorter
If you are worried about what the arrival of autumn, these simple tips will help you to stay on top of things as the weather grows colder.
1. Balance your diet
Fueling your body well is a great place to start.
If you often find yourself feeling sluggish and flat during the colder months, the first step we recommend is taking the time to make rich, nourishing foods.
The winter months can make you crave fast food, treats and sweets as your bodies need more energy to keep warm while still doing everything you did in the warmer months: work, parenting, exercising. While a few sweeter delights aren’t going to harm you, make sure to balance this with nourishing food, too.
To give yourself an extra boost, we recommend adding healthy stews and soups to your diet – not only are they rich in vitamins and nutrients that will help your brain to function well and protect your ability to cope with daily life, but they’re also a great way to warm yourself up and take care of yourself when it’s cold and miserable outside.
2. Maintain your vitamin D
Taking vitamin D supplements is an easy way to ensure you're getting enough.
While most people should be able to make all the vitamin D they need from the sunlight between March and September, during the colder months you’ll need to take steps to ensure your vitamin D levels don’t slip.
This is important for a number of reasons. Not only does vitamin D play a vital role in keeping our bones, teeth and muscles healthy, but vitamin D also helps to regulate mood.
Try taking vitamin D supplements alongside a balanced diet in the winter months to make up for the lost sunshine. It won’t ‘fix’ anything, but it might give you a little more of a boost and a smile through chattering teeth.
3. Get cosy and comfy
Adding a few cosy pieces to your wardrobe and home will make things feel more welcoming.
It may seem simple, but embracing the colder weather and taking steps to make yourself feel cosy and comfortable can make a big difference to your wellbeing.
Feeling good in yourselves really helps to protect your mental health. You’re more likely to feel better in yourselves if you’re comfortable, warm enough, cosy and settled.
To help you get started, we recommend adding a handful of ‘comfort’ items to your home and wardrobe. You don’t have to spend a fortune, but adding some simple staples like putting thick blankets on the sofa can actually really help us to find comfort in winter – and in yourselves.
4. Don’t let the cold hold you back
Getting outside for a walk will help to wake you up and blow out the cobwebs.
You may feel less-than motivated to get outside when it’s windy and raining, but doing so can do you the world of good.
Fresh air is still great for clearing the mind and getting oxygen into the lungs and brain. Try brisk walks paired with a hot drink to stop your fingers falling off.
5. Listen to what you need
Giving your body what it needs will make the winter months that little bit easier.
While taking care of yourself is important all-year round, taking the time to listen to your body and mind – and giving them what they need – is even more crucial when you’re feeling rough.
Try to embrace it rather than feel intimidated, and if a duvet day is required just to help keep you warm and sane, that’s OK too.