The wintertime can be one of the most difficult parts of the year for many who struggle with their mental health, so in this article, we’re going to take a look at just a few things you can do to protect your mental health this winter.
It’s not always easy looking after yourself as much as you know you should and every single one of us will recognise the ill effects of poor mental health, whether that’s due to external circumstances, health, or other issues.
Economically, things can certainly feel bleak if you’re constantly bombarded with news about the cost of living crisis, war, inflation and other issues that are affecting the country at the moment.
Winter especially can be a really tough time for everybody as the nights draw in, the temperature drops and Christmas approaches. For those with kids, the financial stress of the festive time of year can feel oppressive whilst those without as many friends and family around them may be anxious about being alone.
Regardless of your circumstances, the first thing to point out is that there are several excellent charities that you can contact should you feel that you’re struggling which we’ll list at the bottom of our article with contact details.
Nobody should ever feel alone or feel hopeless when it comes to feelings of depression, anxiety, low mood or other issues brought about by poor mental health and we urge you, if you’re reading this and recognise what we’re saying, to not struggle alone. Reach out, there is always somebody willing to listen and help.
That important message aside we’ve picked out our top 3 tips to protect your mental health this winter, with advice collected from several mental health charities, as well as our charity partner for this winter, Mind.
Top tips to protect your mental health this winter
Be gentle, generous and patient with yourself
It’s important to understand that if you find this time of year difficult it’s perfectly okay to prioritise and look after yourself, even if some may not understand.
It might help you to reach out to somebody you trust to discuss your feelings and what you may need to do to cope with this period. Are you going to need somebody to regularly check in with? Do you want to avoid busy places or parties?
Again, whatever you need to keep yourself happy and safe is more than okay.
Diet and exercise can help
This is one thing that you have heard many times before, but small changes or routines can make a difference to your overall feeling of well-being.
A walk on your lunch break, an online exercise class, some yoga, taking time for mindfulness, there are lots of options that don’t necessarily you need to be out in the cold and the dark or smashing it in the gym to help yourself feel better.
Similarly, in the winter months, it can be easy to get into a habit of eating comfort foods, to binge or to eat junk food but we know that in the long term this can make things worse as you’re not getting the nutrition you need to boost your mood. A few vegetables and some fruit for breakfast can help you feel more energetic and lift your mood too.
Connect in a way that helps you
Staying connected can feel tough sometimes. It’s not necessarily always about staying active on social media but a text, a message, a coffee, or a phone call can make all the difference to a period where many can feel alone.
Secondly, if you’re feeling up to it then why not reach out to charities or organisations that help people with poor mental health to see if you can help others? It may not be for everybody but connecting with people that feel similarly to you and the feeling of helping others can be an incredibly powerful feeling.
Ultimately, we’ll say it again – nobody should feel alone or hopeless, and yes we mean you. Reach out, and speak to somebody, there is help available and you’re not alone.
Here at Intus, we will be holding a Festive Fundraiser for Mind on the 2nd of December in our Lytham St Annes branch. If you’re nearby and would look to pop in we would love to see you! For more information or to donate to the cause, please see our fundraising page here.
If you feel like you need to speak to somebody here is a short, but not exhaustive, list of charities that can help you: