In addition to the worry caused by the rising cost of living, you may be one of the many people who begin to feel anxious about winter and the colder weather. There is also something else that can occur during winter, and that is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is sometimes known as “winter depression” because the symptoms are usually more apparent during this time of year.

We cannot control the change of seasons, but we can control how we respond, so making healthy choices is crucial. Building our winter resilience will help us focus on what is within our control and take care of ourselves. Supporting a strong immune system and looking after our mental health begins with raising awareness about all the things we can do to beat the bugs and blues.

The more we put wellbeing at the centre of our day, the healthier we will be, the more energy we will have, and the better able we will be to deal with the challenges in our lives today.

If we are not careful, winter can be a time when we let our wellbeing habits slip. The shorter days, reduced natural light, and cooler temperatures can easily lead to unhelpful lifestyle patterns. All we can do is to put a little more effort into looking after ourselves.

Here are a few ideas to help you get through the cold winter days.

Get outdoors

Getting outside will do wonders for your mood and resilience. Take in the natural daylight and appreciate nature.

Why not join in with one of our Finding your Feet Walks, we cater for all abilities, and it is a great opportunity to meet new people!

https://www.community360.org.uk/what-we-do/finding-your-feet/

Don’t be lonely – Stay connected

It’s well documented that having a good support network is beneficial to our overall wellbeing. Sometimes the combination of a lack of energy and the dark, cold nights is enough for us to call off plans or stop making them in the first place.

If you are feeling lonely but don’t want to go out in the cold, chances are there are plenty of other people feeling the same way. Unfortunately, we are in an age where we don’t really make phone calls anymore.

Maybe arrange a time to call and check in with an old friend, relative, or someone you know is on their own. We may think phone calls old fashioned, but the fact that we can speak to anyone in the world in real-time is still quite miraculous in the grand scheme of things. So be old fashioned and pick up the phone!

Join a club or take up a new hobby

This is a great time to join a club or take up a new hobby. Getting out of the house is important and good for our mental well-being as well as having an interest away from family or work commitments.

We offer a wealth of support to the Colchester community, so visit us at the One Colchester Community Hub. There are lots of activities and clubs on offer or you can just pop in for a chat, advice and signposting.

https://www.community360.org.uk/what-we-do/one-colchester-community-hub/

 

Healthy Eating

Sticking to a healthy diet won’t prevent you from picking up winter bugs, but it will help maintain your immune system to better protect you. And should you fall ill, a nutritious diet can help speed up your recovery.

Soup is a cheap and great way to get vegetables into your diet and consider buying frozen vegetables as they are often cheaper and have less waste.

Check out local supermarket websites that have some great ideas for healthy meals for under £5 a family.

For easy, tasty and budget-friendly recipes, Christians Against Poverty have put together some recipes on a budget.

https://capuk.org/money-and-debt-advice/recipes-on-a-budget

If you are concerned about your weight and want to make that all important new year resolution, Community360, in partnership with Provide Essex Wellbeing Service, runs community weigh-ins every Tuesday between 10.30am – 1pm. Here people can be weighed weekly and receive support from staff at the One Colchester Hub.

https://www.community360.org.uk/blog/my-weight-matters-everyone-is-welcome-to-drop-in/

Stay Warm

With energy bills still high we are all mindful of having our heating on for long periods of time or not at all.

Wearing lots of layers, rather than one thick piece of clothing, is a great way to keep warm in winter. Under layers such as thermal vests or long sleeve tops are inexpensive and can work well to trap heat. Keep a look out for clothing made from wool, cotton or fleecy fabric.

Try and block any areas in your home that are particularly draughty, including around window frames, keyholes and under doors.

Keep your curtains open in the day to let light and warmth in and draw them before it gets dark to avoid losing heat.

If you’re worried about the cost of electricity, be selective about how you heat your home. Look at heating one room and spend most of your time there.

Try and keep the room where you spend most of your time, such as your living room or bedroom, heated to at least 18°C if you can. Remember to turn off the radiators in rooms that aren’t being used.

Only heat areas of the house as you need them. You might choose to turn the heating on in your bedroom just before bed. You can also use a hot water bottle or an electric blanket to keep you warm and cosy at night.

Learn more about Energy Bills Support Scheme in England, Scotland and Wales, or Northern Ireland

 

For further information on our winter resilience programme please log onto

https://www.community360.org.uk/what-we-do/winter-resilience/

We have so much to help you stay well, warm, safe and connected over the winter months.