MoneyMagpie created a guide last December, packed full of tips on how to improve your mental and physical health which you can read by clicking the link below:
However, as even more research into mental health has been completed this year and new ways of understanding how the human mind works have opened up, we thought it would be appropriate to create another guide, packed full of even more advice on how to manage mental health over the winter.
A growing number of specialists and influential experts are calling for mental health to be treated the same as physical health, which is why it’s important to take on as much advice as possible if you think you are especially effected during the winter.
A substantial amount of research has been carried out and revealed that the chemical balances inside our brains change during the colder part of the year, so the science proves that you need to take action to combat the difficult conditions.
Here’s some new advice to help you tackle the winter blues.
- Harness natural light
- Spend more time grooming
- Create an exercise routine
- Declutter your home
- Improve your diet
Natural light triggers the production of certain chemicals inside the human brain, all of which are good for how our bodies function and how we feel.
The fact that there is less sunlight during the winter is a big part of why people feel a lack of energy and aren’t as happy as the summer months.
Therefore, it’s critical to harness as much natural light as possible at home and at work, here’s how.
Replace dark curtains with light ones
Even if your curtains are open, if they are dark, a lot of light will be stopped from getting into your home. Investing in a pair of curtains which are a little more transparent or reflective due to their colour will enhance the amount of light getting into a room.
However, if you are trying to save money in the build-up to Christmas, investing in curtain ties can also help bring more light into a room.
Use window and mirror combinations
Putting a mirror in the right place can make a huge difference to how much light fills a room.
If there is a room with a small amount of window space, a mirror can literally double the amount of light entering the space.
Mirrors can be bought cheaply from supermarkets and are worth the investment if your house isn’t positioned to capture the sun during the few hours that it’s up.
Use mirror lettering around your workspace
Making your workspace a light and inspiring area is a good idea at any time of the year, but during the winter it’s absolutely vital the place that you sit and work is as comfortable and enriching as possible.
Getting to work when it’s dark and leaving work when it’s dark isn’t pleasant, which is why it’s important to make your workspace a positive area.
Using mirrored lettering to spell out a quote close to your heart will deliver extra natural light and encouragement when you need it most.
If you would like more help on how to improve your workspace and mood during the workday, our dedicated guide on creating the perfect work life balance should help provide more insights and tips for you to action this winter.
Place mirrors opposite each other
Once more, if you have space on a wall opposite a large mirror, investing in another one and placing it in the right space will create a large beam of light from one to the other.
This will double the amount of light penetrating your skin every time you pass in between the twin mirrors, delivering a welcome boost.
Mount a skylight tube
If your home doesn’t get a lot of natural sunlight and mirrors aren’t a viable option, a skylight tube can help deliver a huge amount of natural light with a small amount of effort.
As the video below demonstrates, a skylight tube uses a series of internal mirrors to deliver light from the roof of your home, into the rooms that need it most.
You’ll not only get a healthy does of sunlight, you’ll also save money on energy.
Use a SAD light box
SAD stands for seasonal affective disorder, the condition which you have if your mood is severely affected during the winter months.
All of the tips on getting more light into your home have been provided to counter SAD, however, if none of the options are viable, you could simply buy a SAD Light Box, which delivers artificial light with all of the properties of natural light.
Simply sitting next to the light during dark mornings and early evenings can help deliver a significant boost in mood and energy.
A SAD light may be the best option as it can be turned on whenever you want.
Everybody loves getting dressed up for a big night out and the process of transformation can be an incredibly rewarding one. Unsurprisingly, there is a science behind feeling good when grooming.
It isn’t even limited to humans, monkeys spend a huge amount of time grooming each other as it makes their social relationships stronger (as well as keeping annoying pests and bugs out of the fur).
Spending more time on your appearance and hygiene can trigger the release of endorphins inside the brain (one of the ‘happy’ chemicals).
So make sure to;
- Wash your hands more regularly
- Brush your hair more regularly
- Use a head massager during the evening
- Take a shower in the evening, even if you had one in the morning
The article we published last year was packed full of inventive ways of getting physical excise done and the blood pumping, something which is proven to reduce the impact of depression.
However, only a workout which is intense, at least 30 minutes long and in between 7am and 11am, will have a real impact.
Our advice was perfect for those who struggle to get motivated, so if that sounds like you, make sure to revisit the article.
However, if you want an actionable and effective exercise routine to improve your mental health, here’s what to do, even if you don’t have a gym membership.
Create a simple schedule
Start by making time during the day in-between the hours of 7am and 11am, whether that’s while you’re in the office or before you leave for work – tell yourself and your colleagues that the 30 minutes of exercise that you will complete, is critical to your health, happiness and productivity for the day and week ahead.
Once you know when and where you will complete your workout, it will be time to create your bespoke plan.
Focus on four main areas of your body
You do not need to buy weights or invest in expensive equipment in order to enjoy a full workout.
Simply focus on four simple areas of your body to exercise and do one exercise for each part.
An easy 30 minute session could include;
10 minutes of push-ups and backwards chair presses (Triceps, biceps, chest).
10 minutes on abs and 10 minutes on chest.
Even though these are extremely simple exercises, performing them at a high intensity will deliver a huge boost to your endorphins and positive mood.
Working out alone can be hard, so make sure to ask and encourage others to join you if possible.
This will make your exercise time a social interaction as well as a physical workout, something which will help improve your mental health even further.
Decluttering your home can have a huge number of benefits on your physical and mental health, while also offering you the opportunity to sell goods and make money.
MoneyMagpie ran a national campaign on how to ‘Clear your Clutter’ and a huge number of resources are available on the links below.
Our Ebook is packed full of tips for getting rid of your junk and the dedicated article, linked below, goes into more detail on the mental benefits of reducing the amount of clutter in your home.
To get you started, here is Jasmine with three quick and easy tips.
As you’ll know, the food that you put into your body has an enormous affect upon your physical and mental health.
If you’re failing to eat enough fruit and vegetables, your body will not be getting the nutrients it needs to perform properly and this will have a direct influence on your mental health.
You know what happens when you drink too much, the next day is always a struggle and your mood is unlikely to be the best.
Food is no different and you should think about it in the same way that you think of alcohol. You may enjoy it at the time but too much of the bad stuff will have a direct and significant impact on your physical and metal health.
Here’s our handy video to share with friends and family if you want to offer them an easy way to take in all of the information above!
If you would like to know how to prepare your home, car and garden for the winter, simply follow the links below for our specialised guides: