How to look after your mental health this winter?
Do you feel down in the dumps, when the weather goes cold? Relax. You are not alone. The cold and dreary winter season forces us to stay indoors, get less exercise, become unsociable and eat unhealthy food. This impacts both our mental and physical health.
Here are some easy tips to help you look after your mental health this winter.
Get outside and enjoy the sun
Exposure to the sunlight plays an important role in influencing our moods. It helps increase our body’s levels of vitamin D and also promotes the production of serotonin which regulates mood.
When inside, keep the curtains open and sit near windows whenever you can. Sunlight within the house can help you feel more awake and reduce oversleeping that can also negatively affect mood.
Exercise is a great way to beat winter blues but it can be hard to find motivation when it’s cold outside. Try to do about 30 minutes exercise, five days a week. Exercising doesn’t only mean doing sport or going to the gym. There are many activities that can keep you active such as walking, jogging, swimming, dancing, gardening and cycling.
Enjoy the cold weather
Instead of avoiding the cold, enjoy it. Look at the winter season as something to be enjoyed, not something to be suffered. Cover up in warm clothing that keeps you snug. Take advantage of things you can only do for a few months each year such as having soups, brisk walks, playing cricket etc
If you’d rather stay indoors you could sit in front of the fire, read a book, do a puzzle, start that TV series you’ve been wanting to watch, or savour a warm drink and sit under snug blankets.
Make an effort to be social
Many of us are less social in winter. While socialising can seem like an effort in the winter months, it can help boost your mood. Make an effort to see friends and accept invitations, even if you only go for a while. Simply being around people can feel good, like being in a gallery, movie theatre or concert. Volunteering can also have a positive impact on your mental health. Not only will you be around other people, you’re also making a difference.
The cold weather can have us reaching for comfort foods high in sugar and fat. While you may get a short-lived mood boost from these foods, they can negatively affect your overall mood, so try and resist the temptation and eat fresh food. Small amounts of vitamin D can be gained from foods such as fatty fish and portobello mushrooms.
Connect with others
A case of the winter blues can turn into something more serious. If you’re concerned about your mood or mental health, talk to someone including friends, family or health professionals.
At PsyCare, our mental health professionals are available to offer you world class treatment and counselling to help you take care of your mental health.