Self care in winter – look after your mental health

The clocks have changed, it’s getting dark and the weather is turning cold. All of these things can contribute to your mood lowering and a change to your behaviour. The way that we look after our mental health during the colder months can be different. I really don’t like the dark, winter nights so  I have to step up my self care to maintain good mental health.

self care in winter
This meme (unknown illustrator) sums me up every year!

Here are 8 tips to help you look after your mental health and maintain your self care during winter. Which tip is your favourite?

  1. Getting outside when you can is crucial for your mental health during winter when it’s getting dark so early. When the weather is good and you can get outside – do it! We need to see and experience natural light when we can. Going for a walk at lunchtime or having a small morning or afternoon break outside will really help boost your mood.
  2. Be social! In the winter and with the dark evenings it’s really easy to hibernate and withdraw in. But reaching out and socialising with friends and family that can make you laugh and lift you up is so important.
  3. Candles are an ideal way to brighten up the dark winter evenings. It’s a key part of hygge and part of the reason why Denmark has consistently been voted the happiest country in the world. Lighting a candle is an opportune moment to be mindful and concentrate on the here and now. Take in what you can hear, smell and see while the candle is alight.
  4. Another top tip to cope with the dark days and nights of November is to embrace it! Cosy up in comfy clothes, curl up under a blanket and enjoy autumnal food like stews and crumbles! It’s the ideal time to watch your favourite films, catch up on TV series or read lots of books.
  1. I am a big fan of bright colours. And when it’s dark outside I find it even more important to surround myself with colourful things. That’s why I wear brightly coloured jumpers and tights, paint my nails bright colours and probably why my hair is dyed bright red!
  2. We all know that exercise is good for us both physically and mentally. It’s important that we move your bodies regularly and when it’s cold and dark it can feel harder to do that. Make sure you’re going for regular walks when it’s light and when it’s dark perhaps do some exercise at home?
  3. Winter is the perfect season to indulge in hot baths! Put your favourite bath products in, light a candle, play some gentle music, get lost in a good book and enjoy a long, lazy ‘you time’ bath.
  4. Maintain the basics. When we’re feeling rubbish the self care basics can slip. It’s really easy to let these boring, normal everyday things slip when we’re struggling with our mental health but they can make a big difference to how you’re feeling. So make sure you’re showering regularly, eating breakfast and taking your medication and vitamins regularly. Aswell as looking after yourself it’s also important to look after your surroundings. Especially as you’re spending more time inside it would feel much nicer to keep your home clean and cheerful. Do things round the house like keeping on top of the washing up regularly, treat yourself to some new cushions or blankets or sort out the ‘junk’ drawer. These are really constructive, useful things to do which while it feels like a pain to do them will feel really satisfying and positive once you’ve done them!