It’s been a tough year for everyone, and as a result, keeping up with our usual health and wellbeing habits may have been disrupted. Things that we may have all taken for granted such as a morning run or workout, cycling to work and even walks at lunchtime may have come to a stop, but there are small things we can do to stay mindful during these winter months.
Below are five tips on how to continue looking after your mental health and wellbeing in the coming months.
Take walks or runs outdoors
With some communal exercise spaces either shut or operating reduced hours, it’s more difficult to get outside for exercise, especially in the winter weather. However, making time to get outdoors even just for a walk or a run is hugely important. As well as helping with productivity, it’s also great for your endorphins and as the daylight hours get shorter, ensuring that you get some vitamin D during the day is certainly beneficial for longer term health. Evidence shows that being physically active can also improve your mental wellbeing by raising your self-esteem and causing chemical changes in your brain to positively change your mood.
Use meditation apps
Studies have shown that mediation can cut stress and help lower anxiety, depression and fatigue. There’s no better time than now to try it. Taking just a few minutes to breathe and clear your head is a fantastic way to start or end your day. There are lots of free meditation apps that you can download and use anywhere, including Calm and Headspace. These offer a range of guided meditation exercises, teaching users how to ground themselves in the present moment.
Talk to someone
We really are all in this together, and whether you’re a teacher in a classroom or working from home, it’s important to remember that each person has different circumstances that may cause them more stress or anxiety. The best solution is to be open and honest about how you feel with your colleagues, as they could be feeling something similar, and it’s highly likely that you’re not alone. Remember that you can also always turn to one of many of our trained mental health first aiders for support.
Plan video calls with loved ones
You might not be able to make dinner plans with your friends at the moment, but that doesn’t stop you from filling up your personal diary with video calls! Remembering to stay in touch with loved ones when you can’t see them in person will lift your mood and help you to feel some sense of normality until restrictions are lifted.
Eating the right foods for your immune system
Ensuring that you get all the nutrients and healthy food in the winter months is so important for your overall wellbeing and mood, so try to have a balanced diet, full of fresh fruit and vegetables. Research also shows that learning new skills, such as cooking, can also improve your mental wellbeing as it boosts self-confidence, helps you build a sense of purpose and also helps you connect with others when sharing recipe ideas for example.
The NHS has created a ‘going home checklist’ which can be used in all types of roles, including those working from home. It encourages reflection and mindfulness at the end of the working day and can be downloaded here.
For anyone that may be struggling during this time, E-ACT employees have access to the Assured Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) which offers free counselling and stress intervention. Find out more at by clicking here.