HOW TO BOOST YOUR WELLBEING IN WINTER
Now that we’ve officially hit winter here in Australia it’s a great time to revisit your wellbeing strategy. Those lifestyle factors that make for positive wellbeing in summer - exercise, socialising with friends, healthier diets, and a sunnier and more positive outlook – tend to take a back seat come winter. Faced with shorter days (less natural light) and colder temperatures, it’s easy to fall into unhelpful patterns and neglect your wellbeing.
So, today we’re look at 3 Problems for Wellbeing in Winter and what we can do to boost our wellbeing.
PROBLEM 1: Poorer health during flu season
SOLUTION: Being physically healthy is an important component to overall wellbeing. Think of winter as an endurance race – the goal is to stay well for a 3-month stretch. So, it’s time to double down on the building blocks of health by eating well, exercising, and getting enough sleep (for more general tips on how to stay healthy see this post). And, of course, with cold and flu germs being in plentiful supply during winter, it's good to practice good hygiene.
And should you happen to fall ill, be sure to get proper rest rather than propping yourself up only to run your body down again.
Problem 2: Being less active in winter
SOLUTION: Rethink how you work on your wellbeing. Because there's less light, more rain, and colder weather in winter, being active to boost your wellbeing may require a bit more thought. Try the following:
- Get over the psychological barrier in order to get physical. Often the biggest barrier is psychological, so make it a non-negotiable that you will be more active.
- Move your exercise indoors if possible (e.g. Perhaps join a gym for the winter months or use the stairs at work) so that the weather becomes a non-issue.
- Choose wellbeing activities that are not just physical in nature. Focus on building positive emotions (do something nice for yourself), get into a state of flow (engagement) where you’re really engrossed in an indoor hobby or activity (for more on engagement check out our post on PERMA: The Ingredients for Resilience and Wellbeing), or nurturing positive relationships.
- And, of course, the PERFECT way to boost your wellbeing in winter is with our 14-day Wellbeing Challenge! This wellbeing tips in our challenge don’t rely on a perfect sunny day or a spare hour or two… They’re simply 15-minute activities delivered to your inbox each day, and are mostly based indoors, so get cracking and sign up here, or you can learn more about the challenge here.
You can read Problem 3 for Wellbeing in Winter by scrolling down.
PROBLEM 3: Feeling blah, feeling down, or feeling depressed
SOLUTION: Winter can be a real dampener on your mood, with a lack of light proposed to be linked to Seasonal Affective Disorder (see this article for more on SAD), so try the following options to boost your mood:
- Try to get some (safe) exposure to the sun, or consider light therapy
- Increase your exercise because of its positive effects on wellbeing (see this post on Why Exercise Matters for your Mental Health + Wellbeing)
- Increase pleasant activities to give yourself a mood boost
So...there's no need to let winter drag your wellbeing down!
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Grimaldi, S., Englund, A., Partonen, T., Haukka, J., Pirkola, S., Reunanen, A., Aromaa, A., & Lönnqvist, J. (2009). Experienced poor lighting contributes to the seasonal fluctuations in weight and appetite that relate to the metabolic syndrome. Journal of Environmental and Public Health. Doi:10.1155/2009/165013