Home / Resources / 5 tips to help look after our mental health this winter

5 tips to help look after our mental health this winter

We suggest 5 practical tips to help look after our mental health this winter, when decreased exposure to sunlight can leave us with low mood, poor motivation and less energy.

Most people will admit that their energy levels change at different points during the year. We may feel happier and more energetic on warm days when the sun is shining and there are plentiful hours of daylight. Conversely, we may have less energy and feel we need to sleep more and lead a quieter life during the cold, shorter days of winter.

It’s believed that decreased exposure to sunlight has an impact on our ability to produce serotonin and melatonin. Both these hormones can have an effect on our mood, motivation and energy levels. Given that we live in a country with long winters and often little sunlight, here are some actions we can consider to help us look after our mental health this winter.

Talk kindly to yourself

If you are beating yourself up for not getting through your to-do list:

  • Stop
  • Take a deep breath
  • Try to change your thinking pattern
  • Celebrate achieving one item on the list rather than berating yourself for still having many outstanding
  • And wherever possible, re-schedule tasks for the times in the year when you will be having exposure to more daylight and increased energy; keeping the more mundane, simpler tasks for the winter months.

Keep moving

One way we can boost energy and look after our mental health in winter is to keep exercising, in whatever form suits us. We may find it more difficult to motivate ourselves but will reap the rewards. Be flexible, if you really can’t face heading out for a brisk walk because the wind’s howling in from the North, do an exercise or yoga video inside instead.

Don’t isolate yourself

It’s well documented that having a good support network is beneficial to our overall wellbeing. Sometimes the combination of a lack of energy and a dark, cold night is enough for us to call off social plans or stop making them in the first place. Remember though that our effort will often be re-paid many times over by the benefits felt after an evening full of laughter and good company.

Be careful

Negotiating icy pavements and difficult driving conditions have negative connotations, but they can present a good exercise in mindfulness. When out and about, practise being in the present moment, slow down and really pay attention to your walking or driving.

Consider food and drink choices

For example:

  • Eating regular, healthy meals and snacks stabilise our blood sugar. Although we may be tempted by the sugar spike we experience after eating a sweet treat, it’s worth remembering that it will be short-lived and followed by a drop in both our energy and alertness.
  • Being in heated environments can lead to us getting dehydrated which can be disguised as feelings of hunger, tiredness or a lack of energy. If drinking cold water in cold weather is unappealing, we can swap it for hot water and infuse it with lemon and ginger or mint for a refreshing winter drink.

 

Recent articles on our blog....

A black and white keyboard with the word newsletter and an envelope image replacing the enter key

Spring 2024 newsletter includes a movement tip & other resources

May 28, 2024

The latest edition of our quarterly workplace wellbeing newsletter includes a movement tip for working hours and many other resources.

Read More →
A row of well thumbed cream coloured paper folders

Workplace wellbeing resources – some helpful recent additions

May 16, 2024

Our latest collection of external resources to help workplace wellbeing includes guidance and recommendations relating to a range of topics – autism employment, ensuring EDI is for everyone, information sharing in mental health emergencies at work, menopause in the workplace and women at work.

Read More →
Group of people working around a desk beside a cork board with coloured notes

Why we should focus on minimising employee illbeing to aid workplace wellbeing

May 16, 2024

This post begins with some research which concludes that efforts to improve wellbeing at work are directed too narrowly. It then goes on to highlight some courses that can help employers looking to minimise employee illbeing in the workplace. They present opportunities to explore strategies that can enhance a culture of psychological safety and trust.

Read More →

Testimonials

ineq-about-us-150x150

Our purpose is to provide training and consultancy services to enhance resilience, health and wellbeing in the workplace.

ineq-ethos-values-150x150

Differentiation is one of the most strategic and tactical activities in which companies most constantly engage

ineq-faqs-150x150

It's natural to have questions about training and how it fits with your organisation. Our FAQs can help you find out more.

ineq-case-studies-150x150

View case studies for some of the in-house training courses we have delivered to different types of organisations across the UK.