Staying Healthy Includes Your Mental AND Physical Health
Even though summer is over and winter is just around the corner, there’s no excuse to drop your fitness habits. It’s even more important to prioritise your health during these months!
Whether you love it or hate it, winter involves shorter days, meaning less sunlight, and colder temperatures, meaning motivation to exercise is lower than normal. Winter also causes SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) in approximately 2 million people in the UK per year according to the NHS, which means many people struggle with their mental health during this time.
In 2020, we’re also dealing with the continued impacts of Covid-19 and lockdown, causing additional mental strain.
At Beckwith Health Club, we strongly believe that mental health is just as important as physical health. So let’s look into some ways to beat the winter blues and stay healthy!
Five Tips to Care for Your Mental Health this Winter
There are many ways to keep your spirits up this winter and during the lockdown! From exercise to healthy eating habits and more, let’s look at five top tips to take care of yourself this winter season.
Tip 1: Focus on Each Day at a Time
Our first tip to care for your mental health this winter is to focus on one day at a time. Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic continues to spread throughout the world, affecting billions of people. Whereas in more ordinary times, it might have been helpful to book some time off, look forward to a trip abroad, or even to a friend’s wedding, this is not currently an option to those of us in the United Kingdom.
Not to mention, you might be finding the volume of negative news stories about the virus very overwhelming.
Given this uncertain context, to avoid becoming more overwhelmed, focus on one day at a time. Balancing your mental health by focusing only on the near future, which is uncertain, will cause your mental health to also become fragile.
Every morning, focus on the day ahead. If reading the news is getting you down, put down your phone, and read a book instead.
Positive and actionable thoughts such as, ‘how can I make the most of my day today?’ will focus your energy on the day ahead. This is preferable to focusing on what the situation will look like in 2 weeks, 2 months or even 2 years, as this will just cause you unnecessary anxiety.
So, how are you making the most of your day today?
Tip 2: Exercise & Get Outside
Exercise is so important for resilient mental health. Getting outside regularly and at the very least, daily, will be sure to keep your mood up. Not only will you be getting more sunlight and vitamin C, but the fresh air will also refresh you and leave you feeling invigorated.
Additionally, regular exercise will help to regulate your basic needs, most importantly: sleep!
Sleep is often the first thing to fly out of the window when we suffer with our mental health. And in an unfortunate Catch-22, lack of sleep can further contribute to increased stress, anxiety, and other troubles. Check out our guide to getting better sleep here!
So, be sure to get outside every day. Even a 20-minute walk will do you a world of good!
As for exercise, be sure to get your blood flowing by going for a run, cycle, or a vigorous walk. If you prefer to workout indoors away from the cold, be sure to check out our blogs on home stretches and workouts!
Tip 3: Don’t Set Yourself Unrealistic Goals
When it comes to the national lockdown, everyone has a different way of dealing with the major changes to their lifestyle. As long as these aren’t negatively impacting your health, there are no right or wrong ways to do this!
However, the temptation to compare our situation to someone else’s is strongly ingrained in us and isn’t helped by our dependence on our phones and social media. The important thing to remember is that everyone is different and works at different speeds.
While your neighbour might have run a 5K, meal-prepped her entire week, and caught up with her family all before breakfast, this doesn’t mean the same is expected of you.
Setting yourself unachievable goals for a lockdown will leave you feeling de-motivated and will affect your feeling of self-worth. Nothing worse than that!
Instead, take things at your own pace. Check in with yourself regularly: are you doing too much and feeling burnt out? Are you not doing enough and feeling lethargic? See how you feel and most importantly, take care of yourself!
Tip 4: Eat a Balanced & Healthy Diet
Physical health has a big role to play in supporting your mental health. A healthy and balanced diet, rich in vitamins and nutrients, will make a difference to your body and overall health. This is especially true over the winter months when we tend to lack some of the nutrients we get naturally get more of in the summer months.
Thankfully, there are lots of quick and easy ways to get everything you need! Check our blogs for some ideas of easy and nutrient-filled breakfasts, meals, and snacks. If you are shielding or prefer not to venture out into the cold, there are many services available which can deliver fresh produce directly to your door.
Also, many doctors recommend for those in the United Kingdom to take daily Vitamin D supplements. However, this is something that should be consulted directly with a GP if you would like to consider it.
Tip 5: Stay in Touch with Friends and Family
Last but certainly not least, try to keep in touch with your friends and family. Also, remember to check in with those friends and family members who live alone and might be feeling isolated.
Regular contact with those you love and care for will give you a natural boost, and help to stave off feelings of loneliness and distance. Of course, a phone call can’t replace time spent together in-person, but it goes a long way in making everyone feel cared for.
Staying in touch could be in the form of a phone call, a text conversation, playing Words with Friends on your phone, scheduling a virtual pub quiz, and much more! Or even, try a socially distanced workout!
The most important thing with this is to check in with yourself – don’t overschedule the virtual events and leave yourself feeling over-extended!
For more health & wellness tips, visit our Beckwith Health Club blog here.