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How to stay positive during winter

Written by Shelley Lindo.

It’s cold, it’s dark, there doesn’t seem to be enough “day” in the day and my wellbeing isn’t feeling very “well”. It’s beginning to look a lot like winter!

When it gets to this time of year it’s really easy to feel down. Even though it’s the new year and there’s lots to be positive about, it can be hard to summon any positive energy when it’s cold and grey outside. Luckily there are a number of things in day-to-day life that we can do to help improve our own wellbeing.

Let’s take a look at some tips for maintaining wellbeing during the cold dark days of winter. Below are some ideas you can use on those days when you feel your mental needs a boost.

Winter Wellbeing Tips

Adopt a positive outlook and practice gratitude

When things are dark, sometimes the best thing you can do is to just force a positive outlook. This can be easier said than done, but focusing on the positives can really make a big difference in how we feel.

Make a conscious decision and effort to replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts whenever they come your way.  

A good way to do this is by practicing gratitude. If you think about your life, even if you aren’t feeling great, there are always things to be grateful for. These don’t cancel out the bad things, or make the sun come out, but they can helpful things to orient your thoughts, feelings, and outlook around.

Try deep breathing

Staying indoors for too long can lead to a build-up of excess energy. You might feel restless, unable to concentrate, or frustrated for no reason. When this happens, it can be helpful to stop, sit down, and do some deep breathing to calm your body and mind.

Try breathing in for three seconds, holding it for three seconds, and then breathing out for three seconds. Even doing this just three times in a row can lower your stress levels and help calm yourself down, allowing you to reframe things if you’re having a difficult time.

Of course, sometimes this just might not work, in which case it can be good to try getting outside.

Get outside and get some exercise

Our bodies and our minds are closely linked. Even though you might hate the idea of going out into the cold for a jog, exercise can improve mental health.

Sometimes, when the weather is miserable, and we’re miserable, and nothing seems like it will make us feel any better, doing some exercise is the best course of action. You feel better in your body, and even if your mental state doesn’t improve, you can still be proud of yourself for doing it.

Stay in touch with people close to you

When it’s horrible outside it can be tempting to just shut ourselves inside and not see anyone. But that only isolates us, and can leave us feeling worse than ever.

Even if it’s cold and raining outside, it’s worth braving the weather and meeting a friend for coffee, as you feel connected, you leave your own thoughts behind, and catch up with someone important to you. That almost always helps us feel better!

Eat well

Maintaining a healthy diet plays a key role in how we feel, both physically and mentally.

Plus, if it’s horrible outside, sometimes it can cheer us up to stay in and cook something hearty and warming, helping us feel much better.

Get plenty of sleep

It’s darker for longer in winter, which can lead to us feeling more tired. It’s important not to ignore this, and get plenty of sleep when you can.

Getting enough sleep is important for our mental health all year round.

If you’re struggling this winter, remember that it doesn’t last forever. But there are ways to look after your mental health in the meantime. If you’re having a difficult time, we’re here for you.

Read more ways to improve your mental health, or learn about Seasonal Affective Disorder.

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Posted on: 16th January 2023

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