The winter season can be an exciting and joyous time of year – especially when we think of spending extra time with loved ones over the holidays or cozying up next to the fireplace with a hot chocolate. For some, the winter season is one of the most difficult times of the year. Stress and anxiety brought on by the busy holiday season or the winter blues can take a physical and mental toll on our overall well-being.
It’s important to remember winter’s impact on mental health is a common challenge but there are steps you can take to prioritize wellness.
Follow these five helpful tips for winter wellness this season.
1. Taking a break
With all the time spent over the holidays traveling to visit family and friends, shopping or hosting parties, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Taking time for yourself to recharge during the holidays is essential for wellness. It’s important to recognize when it’s time to slow down and take time out for yourself. Scheduling a break each day and establishing a wellness routine can help you achieve healthy habits. Whether it’s a small walk during the lunch hour or reading a book before bed, taking these small moments for yourself is important to refresh and recharge.
2. Staying active
Whether you enjoy outdoor winter sports or prefer to hibernate indoors, exercise is important to include in any wellness routine. Exercise helps to reduce stress hormones and improve your mood. Start with some simple outdoor exercises such as walking or running to get some fresh air and soak in some natural vitamin D. Remember to dress warmly and wear appropriate footwear to avoid slips and falls. If you’d prefer to exercise indoors, try weight lifting or online fitness videos such as yoga or Pilates.
3. Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule
Getting quality sleep in the winter is crucial. The cold and shorter days may tempt you to sleep too much or not enough. Sticking to a sleep schedule – going to bed and waking up at the same time each day will allow your mind and body to recharge. Getting good sleep can help strengthen your immune system and stave off seasonal viruses such as the common cold or the flu.
4. Staying connected
One of the best parts of the winter season is having that extra time over the holidays to spend with loved ones. Gather with friends and family and find new and exciting activities to share together. Play a board game, go for a winter walk, cook a meal together or simply have tea and talk. Sharing time with those you care about will not only eliminate stress and boost your mood but it’s a great way to create memories with one another during the holidays.
5. Practicing gratitude
There are small ways you can practice gratitude every day that will improve the relationship you have with others and most importantly – yourself. It’s about paying attention to the present and connecting with your thoughts and feelings. Start with creating a gratitude journal and list three aspects of your life you are grateful for, no matter how small or large. Extend this gratitude to others. Do something kind for someone else or send cards or handwritten notes to tell loved ones you appreciate and value them.
What is your favourite winter wellness activity? Upload a picture of yourself participating in one of these winter wellness tips to social media and tag us @uhnfoundation.