While winter may come with the promise of cozy nights around the fire, a chance to reconnect with friends and family and, of course, Christmas and New Year’s Eve, the darker, colder days can often have a negative effect on people’s mental health. Many suffer from the symptoms of Seasonal Effective Disorder (known as SAD) that, if left untreated, can manifest into something much harder to manage. Fortunately, there are some simple and easy steps people can take to make sure they keep on top of their mental health this winter.
It might be more tempting to stay away from the cold during the winter months, tucked up in the warmth and comfort of the home. However, conditions like SAD are only made worse through a lack of natural sunlight. While it may look gray and rather bleak outside, the vitamin D and - albeit slight - UV rays can do wonders for people’s mental health. Just make sure to wrap up in a warm fur coat – this selection from Lily Lulu is a great example. Keep warm in style, and head out for a while. Combine a trip outside with some light exercise such as jogging or speed walking, and sufferers will be well on the way to staying mentally active this season.
Make Time for You
With office parties, family gatherings, festive catch-ups with friends, many people’s social calendar is no doubt going to be extremely full this winter. For some, that might be a good thing, but for those of who need to take of their mental health, all those social gatherings might mean people feel overwhelmed, exhausted, and end up neglecting themselves and their minds. It is OK to limit or cancel plans or make compromises when a relaxing night alone is needed on your own, in front of the TV with a Christmas movie. If fitting this kind of time in is a struggle, then thankfully, there are resources to help squeeze in some ‘you-time.’ Apps like Headspace ensure that everyone can take a moment to unwind, no matter how busy they are.
Christmas is unarguably the hardest time of the year to maintain a healthy eating habit. After Thanksgiving, it can often feel like the act of gorging just never ends. However difficult, it is important to try and keep our diets as healthy as possible. People’s mental health can be negatively impacted by too much sugar, salt, and carbs – and of course, alcohol is a major depressant that should be regulated as much as possible too. That being said, it’s natural to treat yourself over winter, so don’t worry if this change is noticed. The season can be a great time to experiment with seasonal fruits and vegetables and get creative in the kitchen too.
By starting with these simple yet effective tips, everyone can make sure they fully enjoy the festive season while also looking after their mental health.