Avoid the winter blues and manage your mental health

With the clocks having gone back an hour at the weekend, we are in the run up to Christmas and you’ll start to notice the darker mornings and the days getting darker that little bit earlier.

Friday, 5th November 2021, 12:08 pm
Jamie McQuade

For many of us it almost feels like instinct to stay inside more, curled up with a blanket with some comfort food and almost hibernate during the coming months.

The winter brings its own challenges with regards to managing our mental health so I would like to pass on some simple ways about how we can all manage and maintain our physical and mental wellbeing during the winter months.

Let’s start by getting a mental health plan in place.

All successful outcomes begin with a plan.

We all have a plan in place for our workday or what we need to do during the day and school runs etc but many of us never get a plan in place for our mental wellbeing.

Find out what works for you and have a plan in place that is flexible and realistic as we want this to something that is more playful rather than feeling like it is a chore. When we talk about self-care it should be things you enjoy and want to do.

I feel it is so important that we listen to our bodies, so often with the pressures of daily life we live in our heads so much that we can ignore the subtle signs our bodies give us that we have been switched on for too long should it be with stress, worry etc.

We are all guilty of ignoring those signs and pushing on until we get close to burn out before we take notice and try to remedy the situation.

With less daylight our internal body clock will naturally start preparing the brain and body for sleep more than it does in the summer months and it’s natural for many of us to feel more sluggish and have less energy.

To help balance this out make the most of the natural light. If you work in an office or from home, plan it into your day that you will get outside for a walk or even to have a cuppa outside in the natural light.

We can build on this by ensuring that we get some regular exercise which doesn’t have to be anything strenuous just a simple walk, play with the kids outside, take the dog for a walk.

It can be very effective to help lift your mood and increasing your energy levels.

Sometimes the last thing we feel like doing is talking to people and this might be because you are feeling anxious, stressed, overwhelmed and not feeling very sociable and we can cut ourselves off from people.

But connecting with people has so many benefits for your mental health, rather than holding onto all the worries and stress you have, talking it through with those close to you who you trust about what is worrying you can be really helpful.

It allows you to feel that you have been listened to, supported and it helps lighten the load we all carry.

Practising gratitude can be beneficial to your mental health because what we think about impacts how we feel, how we behave and ultimately the results we get.

If you can get into the habit of spending a few minutes a day focusing on what you are grateful for each day it can help to balance out the negative thinking that we all do each day.

There are so many ways you can maintain and improve your mental wellbeing during the coming months the key is to find out what works for you, be consistent with it and enjoy it.

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