Welcome to our Winter Wellbeing Guide! As the cold season sets in, we’ve put together some straightforward tips to help you stay on top of things. From sticking to a daily routine and staying connected with loved ones to enjoying simple pleasures like reading or taking a stroll in the park, we’ve got practical advice to make your winter more manageable.
1. Keep to a daily routine
With shorter, colder days, it can feel harder to keep our normal activities going. We usually feel better if we’re up and dressed, eating at regular mealtimes and going to bed at the same time.
2. Stay connected
A friendly natter by phone, online or meeting friends in a way that feels comfortable to you can help you feel connected. Ringing a helpline if we’re lonely can help us feel better too. It might be useful to keep a few phone numbers handy, to remind us to stay in touch.
3. Do things you enjoy
If we’re staying inside due to bad weather or recovering from a bad cold, it’s still important to take time to enjoy ourselves each day. Whether it’s reading, watching a box set under a blanket, making handmade gifts or seasonal baking. It can also be fun to try something new, get creative or dust off an old hobby.
4. Get outside for some sunlight and exercise
Try to get outside for at least 20 minutes of exercise each day. Walk in a green space if you can, such as one of Leeds’ many parks. This can help you feel refreshed and more energised, especially if you’re working from home or spending more time indoors. If it’s difficult for you to get out, open a window and let some fresh air in if you can.
5. Look after your physical health:
- Keep warm – Public Health England recommends that indoor temperatures should be between 18 and 21 degrees.
- Eat well – eat regular nourishing, hot meals including plenty of vegetables.
- Stay hydrated – drink 6 to 8 glasses of fluid each day and have regular hot drinks on cold days.
- Sleep well – if you’re struggling to get a good night ‘s sleep, check out MindWell’s self-help guide.
- Keep active – it’s important to keep moving, but it can be more difficult to go out in wintery weather. Instead, we can walk the stairs or try an online exercise or yoga video.
- Get a flu jab – flu can be more severe in certain groups of people. If you’re in one of these groups you might be contacted by the NHS or your GP surgery to get a free flu jab.
- Get a COVID-19 booster vaccine – specific groups are being offered the booster, so you might be contacted by the NHS or your GP surgery. You can find out if you’re eligible and book a jab on the NHS website. You can also arrange your 1st or 2nd doses of the vaccine on the NHS website.
- Stop smoking – find help to stop in Leeds.
If you’re struggling with fuel bills, contact Home Plus Leeds for advice (there are eligibility criteria), or, for a review of benefits entitlements contact Welfare Rights Advice on 0113 376 0452 or email: email@example.com. You can find more details of services in Leeds offering support around finances or benefits on our Debt and money worries pages. You can find links to support and advice in Leeds on the Winter Friends website.
6. Make a plan
Faith and cultural festivals, birthdays and other anniversaries might still be different this year, with people worried about the cost of living problems or even suffering from winter viruses. We might feel unable to socialise as easily and have less opportunities to celebrate with others. It can help to make a plan for days of celebration that are special to us. And if we don’t want to celebrate, that’s OK too.
7. Relax and unwind
The last few years have been difficult, with many people feeling anxious about their health or families, job security or money worries. Take some time each day to relax. Find what works for you, whether that’s relaxation breathing, caring for your plants, going for a run, or getting up and moving to your favourite feel-good tunes.
8. Drink sensibly
Taking a mindful approach to what you’re drinking can have huge benefits for our physical and emotional health. Try Public Health England’s Drink Free Days app, which can be found on the Apple App Store and Google Play. Check out the Drink Coach website for tips to help you cut down.
9. Write it down
Keeping a journal can be a great way to explore and organise our thoughts. It can help us plan our day, express gratitude and understand our worries and feelings. Winter is also a good time to think about future goals and prepare for the new year, so why not get a notebook or find a journal app and get writing?
10. Ask for help
If you’re struggling, it’s OK to ask for help if you need to, there’s always someone to talk to: Find local and and national helplines and support. If you’re aged 18 or over and in Leeds or the rest of West Yorkshire, you can call the West Yorkshire 24 hour mental health helpline at any time on any day (including holidays) on 0800 183 0558. You can also call if you’re worried about a family member or someone you care for.