How to Beat the Winter Blues

If it feels like a long dark slog between now and the spring, read our top tips on looking after your mental health and boosting your wellbeing through the winter months.

We’ve made it through January, despite the wind, rain and post-Christmas come down, which means February will surely be a doddle? But before getting too far ahead of ourselves, we might just need one final push to sail through the last of the winter months.

Have you noticed the nights getting lighter? Five minutes here; five minutes there. If it feels like a long dark slog between now and the spring, take heart that the signs are already starting to show. Still, we know how challenging the winter months can be.

Britain is due another cold snap, heating bills aren’t getting any cheaper (far from it), and that elusive spring sunshine still feels a little too far away. So how can you help yourself to feel better, and beat those winter blues?

Read on for our top tips on looking after your mental health and boosting your wellbeing through the winter months.

Guarding your wellbeing in winter

Winter always feels far more manageable when there’s Christmas to look forward to. The promise of celebrating with family and friends is always a comfort, but plans tend to be in short supply at the start of the year. Finances are recovering, the weather is inclement, and people are generally far less social at this time of year.

It gets lonely, doesn’t it?

There’s also the lingering presence of Covid dampening our spirits at every turn. But while things might feel a little challenging right now (and everyone’s experience will be different), there are plenty of small steps you can take to keep you in good spirits.

Start your day right

Create a familiar routine by planning out your day, but always start with something energising. You could kick the morning off with some light exercise, or even blast out your favourite upbeat music. Anything that helps your day begin with a bit of gusto.

Think about your next step

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you’re feeling low; especially at this time of year. If you find yourself struggling to plan too far into the future, or the most routine of tasks feels far too taxing, plan your next small step. Just one. Take it slow, and you’ll get further than you think.

Deal in kindness

When we can’t control what’s going on around us (although let’s be honest, when can we?) it can really help to look beyond ourselves. Helping out in your local community, volunteering for a charity, or simply being there for a friend can all be great for your mental health.

Reach out if you need support

It’s normal to be a little blue in the winter months, but if you’re feeling low all of the time, or if you have wider worries – like finances, health or housing – on your mind, it might be time to talk. There are so many great helplines out there, all dedicated to supporting you when you need it.

Spend time in nature

If it’s blowing a gale and the heavens have opened, you may be less inclined to don your walking boots and head into the great outdoors, but even just a short walk around your neighbourhood can seriously boost your wellbeing. Just be sure to wrap up (very) warm!

Pinpoint the positives

It’s easy to focus on the negatives at this time of year – and in particular, the many negatives of the pandemic – but a great exercise for improving mental health is to list every positive you can find. Did lockdown give you chance to read more? Did you get better at using tech? Write it all down.

Don’t cut yourself off

We know that everyone is socialising less right now, but that doesn’t mean you have to keep yourself in isolation. Whether it’s scheduling a weekly phone call with family and friends, or joining an online reading group, mixing with others is a tonic for our wellbeing.

Focus on finances

With bills rising, it’s a good idea to keep on top of your finances. Few things impact our mental health like money worries, so get a good grasp of your budget, make sure you’re getting all the benefits you’re entitled to, and seek professional advice if you need it.

Embrace the season

Instead of fighting it, why not try to lean into the season? Winter is a time for warming up with hot tea, getting cosy under a blanket, sitting by the fire with a good book, nourishing your body before the summer, and conserving those energy stores. Use these months to rest and relax.

And remember, spring will be with us before we know it. In the meantime, stay well, and look after yourself.

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