Christmas is behind us and we are now settling into the heart of the winter months. Although winter brings the stillness of snowfall and those quiet, cosy evenings by the fire, they are often accompanied by feelings of overwhelm. The colder temperatures and shorter daylight hours often bring changes to our energy levels and routines and we are more likely to succumb to those lingering colds. This all affects our mood and lowers our stress threshold. The natural world calls us into the quiet, along with the hedgehogs hibernating and the earth lying dormant… but we can’t listen, because there’s simply too much to do.
This blog is here to share ways for managing these challenges and embracing the beauty of the season, while prioritising our wellness.
Embrace the Light
The reduced sunlight during winter can impact our mood and energy levels. To combat this, try to maximise your exposure to natural light. Take short walks during daylight hours, position yourself near windows when indoors, or consider using light therapy lamps to mimic natural sunlight.
Nourish Your Body
Nutrition plays a crucial role in supporting your well-being all year round, including during the winter. The festive season of Christmas often brings a change to dietary habits that can be difficult to move away from, such as increased refined sugar and carbs and perhaps more alcohol intake.
Try to mindfully and gradually shift towards eating more seasonal fruits and vegetables, which are rich in vitamins and minerals, alongside ensuring you are including enough protein (beans and lentils). Vegetable soups and stews do of course make perfect winter meals, keeping you both warm and nourished. Staying hydrated is also essential and wrapping your hands around a big mug of herbal tea provides comfort, hydration and nourishment in equal measure on those cold, hazy winter mornings.
While the temptation to hibernate indoors is strong, maintaining regular physical activity is vital for both physical and mental health. Seek out those activities that you enjoy, whether it’s indoor workouts, yoga, dancing, or winter sports. Wrapping up warm and going for a short daily walk can uplift your spirits and boost your energy levels and provide the opportunity for both solitude and connecting with others.
Social connections are vital, especially during the winter months when feelings of isolation can arise. Stay connected by checking in with friends and family, even if it’s a quick message, phone call or video chat, if you can’t see them in person. Smiling at strangers or making light conversation with people around you in coffee shops, or on dog walks can make a big difference not only to your day, but to theirs. Unless of course, you know you need solitude – that’s ok too.
Practice Mindfulness and Self-Care
Be kind to yourself during this season. Practice mindfulness through meditation, deep breathing exercises, and by tuning into the present. Add regular self-care activities to your day that bring you joy, whether it’s reading, drawing, or indulging in a hot bath. Remember that caring for yourself, allows you to care for others.
Winter is the time when cold and flu bugs often run rampant and we are also more likely to experience physical aches and pains. Feeling poorly and tired means that we are much more likely to struggle with low mood and have a much lower threshold for stress. So if you are unwell then really try to prioritise rest and nourishment, because you need it.
Remember to go gently. It’ll be summertime again before you know it.
This blog post aims to offer practical tips and encouragement to combat the challenges that come with winter and prioritise wellness.
Words by Heather.
Connecting people to nature.
Heather works for Feel Good Norfolk and is a medical herbalist in training. Once she qualifies she will be working intentionally with women to support their physical and psychological well-being. She has an MSc in environmental sciences and integrates nature into all aspects of her daily life and herbal practice.