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Our guide to looking after your wellbeing through the darker months

Updated: Nov 2, 2022



The change in seasons can be a difficult time for many people. It's common to be affected by changing seasons and weather, or to have times of year when you feel less like yourself. You might find yourself experiencing some of the following symptoms;

  • Feeling nervous, anxious or on edge

  • Not being able to control or stop worrying

  • Thinking negative thoughts about yourself

  • Feeling down, depressed or hopeless

  • Having little interest or pleasure in doing things

  • Having trouble falling or staying asleep or sleeping too much


If your feelings are interfering with your everyday life it may be time to stop and think about ways to improve your wellbeing through these months. Here are a few tips from Familiarisation Videos;


Be kind to yourself and normalise what you are experiencing

It is normal to experience a change of mood when things in life change. We have all had an abundance of change over the last few years. But remember, it’s how we respond to these changes that can make a difference. Try to go easy on yourself and show yourself the same kindness and compassion as you would to others.

Make the most of natural light


Sunlight and darkness trigger the release of hormones in your brain. Exposure to sunlight is thought to increase the brain’s release of a hormone called serotonin. Serotonin is associated with boosting mood and helping a person feel calm and focused. Exposure to light is so important during the shorter daylight hours. You could try brightening up your home environment by opening curtains and blinds, making a conscious effort to let in as much sunlight as possible. Or try getting outside when you can by scheduling in short walks outside during your day.

Get active


Exercise is a scientifically proven mood booster, decreasing symptoms of both depression and anxiety. Physical activity increases endorphin levels, the body’s “feel good” chemical producings feelings of wellbeing and happiness. Even just moderate exercise throughout the week can improve depression, anxiety and negative thought patterns as well as improving self esteem and congnitive function. Try and get out and exercise as much as you can in ways that you enjoy, whether this be a short walk, attending the gym, swimming, taking the kids to the park, dancing… anything that involves moving your body to release those endorphins.

Health from the inside


Adjusting your diet through the winter months might help. When you feel low, you’re more likely to crave comforting foods that help to boost serotonin, which is lower during winter for some of us, but this is a short lived effect. Eating a healthy balanced diet can help to keep you feeling better for prolonged amounts of time. When you stick to a diet of healthy food, you're setting yourself up for fewer mood fluctuations, an overall happier outlook and an improved ability to focus



Journaling


If you’re not sure what to do that might boost your mood and mental health, it can sometimes help to keep a journal. Through journaling, you can pick up on any patterns emerging in regard to what makes you feel better, and what makes you feel worse. You can also use a journal to write down all of the good things that have happened throughout the day, no matter how small, training your brain to pick out the positives and creating an overall boost in mood.

Seek support


If we hold on to our emotions and thoughts they can keep building until we can’t keep them in any longer. Make plans to see friends or talk on the phone or video call friends and family. Encourage others to talk about their mental wellbeing as we all benefit from a listening ear. You could also call the Samaritans on 116 123 if you’d prefer.

And finally, Stay present


If you find yourself worrying too much about future events, things you can't control, or going over the past in your mind and you're finding this unhelpful, try to keep your mind in the present moment. Noticing these thoughts and returning your mind to the present can help you break unhelpful patterns of thought and improve your mood.


You can find more support services on the resources section on our website


***IF YOU'RE CONCERNED FOR YOUR WELFARE OR SOMEONE ELSES, DON'T HESITATE TO CONTACT YOUR GP OR VISIT A&E***


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