Winter Wellness: Keeping Your Mind and Body Happy
For many people, the winter months can be tricky in terms of keeping well. It is more difficult to spend much time outside, more difficult to get out and about – and spend time with others – be it friends or family, and for many people, the natural reaction to cold, rain or dark days is to snuggle inside with some comfort food.
Although this isn’t necessarily always a bad thing, we do have to be more aware of how we are looking after both our bodies and minds, ensuring that we stay fit and healthy and able to deal with whatever the winter months throw at us.
With this in mind, here are some ideas of what can be done to help us to stay well – and brimming with wellness – throughout the winter.
Spruce Up Your Living Space
If you are spending more time inside, it is important that your inside is somewhere that is good for you. According to bespoke kitchen specialists, Stonehouse Furniture, “Research shows that having a connection with nature improves our quality of life” and they suggest a number of ways that nature can be bought into the home. From having big windows which open out onto a garden to an abundance of house plants, spending time in nature – even if you’re inside – can be beneficial to you.
Other important changes that you can make include:
Having separated work and relaxation areas
Creating as much natural light as possible
List the Things You Love
A lack of vitamin D, as well as other factors over the winter, can mean that some people are prone to low mood or depression. One of the best ways to combat these feelings – as well as be beneficial to everyone – is to make a list of activities that bring you joy, then program them into your diary and make sure that you do them. These might be simple things like spending half an hour a day reading a book, going swimming, out for a coffee or visiting a neighbour, or bigger things like taking a day trip to the sea, going to the theatre or even a holiday.
Blood Sugar Levels
Typically, blood sugar levels are only really monitored by diabetics, but they can also have a huge effect on your body and mood even if you’re not. Food which is high in quick-release sugar like sweets, cakes, processed food and sugary drinks can cause a spike in your blood sugar levels – which are often followed by a low, often making you feel tired and sometimes irritable after an initial high. These foods are also not good for your physical health.
Try to avoid these foods – especially in the winter when you are particularly prone to be affected by these changes. Try to swap these for foods which are rich in protein and fibre for more stability, and vitamin-rich foods for added well-ness.
Get in the Creative Flow
Spending time regularly being creative can be a great way to take your mind off the stresses and strains of everyday life, especially in the winter. Whether you fancy drawing, painting, writing or even just singing in the shower, it can be beneficial to you.
Being creative can be done inside – either at home or in a club or class – and can often give you the opportunity to get out of the house and socialise with people.
Remember that it’s the process of being creative which is important, not the finished product.
Take Vitamin D Supplements
There are only a few foods that contain vitamin D, but it is an important vitamin for our general health. Most of our vitamin D comes from the sun so if we are spending less time outside – or under thick cloud – we can find that we become deficient in vitamin D. Vitamin D is important for your bone health, calcium absorption and keeping your mood stable, so it is often recommended that you take vitamin D supplements over the winter.
If you are worried about your vitamin D levels, you can ask your GP for a blood test which will tell you how you are getting on.
It is especially important that we look after our physical and mental health over the winter. In the warmer weather of the summer, it is easier to get out and about, be active and eat in a healthier manner. However, we all need to be in the best of health to ensure that we stay emotionally well as well as being able to fight off those coughs and sneezes which are so common in the colder months.