With the clocks going back and the evenings becoming dark much earlier, many people struggle to cope with this change of season. The shorter days, lack of sunshine and change in temperatures mean people are more prone to catching colds and flu. This time of year can also cause changes in mood.
The Family Law Company’s Wellbeing Group was interested in looking into how to combat this and ways of promoting good mental and physical health during this season.
Top tips from the NHS to stay well this winter are:
- Get outside in the natural daylight to promote good sleep
- Eat more fruit and veg
- Drink milk to promote protein, vitamins B12 and A and Calcium to keep immune systems strong
- Try new activities as a family
- Eat breakfast – oats in particular help to boost the immune system
Lack of sunshine and warmth can contribute to low mood – and whilst many enjoy and look forward to the seasonal festivities, Christmas is not always a happy time for everyone. It is easy to adopt a sofa pose throughout the colder months, watch TV and not want to brave the cold. But, if we try getting outdoors wherever possible for a short time every day our immune systems can be boosted, and our mood lifted.
Crunch some leaves underfoot, walk on a blissfully empty beach with the dog and soak up some Vitamin D. The NHS recommends 30 minutes of exercise three times a week to help combat depression. Exercise is a mood booster and even a gentle walk around the block in your lunch hour can lift the mood. Perhaps try walking to work or get off the bus a stop earlier when the weather is dry.
Trying new activities as a family can also encourage you to leave the house, and spending time with family and friends can make us feel happier.
Boost your vitamin intake by blitzing a range of veg into soups, curries, stews and casseroles. The Family Law Company provides staff with a fruit box each week to promote good health and wellbeing. We have also looked into the particular things staff choose to do to fend off colds. Ideas include taking a Zinc supplement, a course of Echinacea herbal remedy, hot toddy, hot honey and lemon, chicken soup etc. The NHS recommends that people get a flu jab if possible. This can be arranged at your local chemist if you are paying privately, or via your GP if you are entitled to this due to a health condition. Good hand hygiene is also a must.
The Danes have turned enjoying winter into an art – and they have a lot of dark days and nights to get through! This art of living well is called Hygge (pronounced hue-gah) and seems to be a way of finding comfort and contentment on even the darkest and coldest day. Examples include: wrapping up warm and skimming stones on a beach, meeting friends for lunch or coffee, enjoying a woodland walk, decorating the Christmas tree with your family, picking up a good book or sitting in a comfy chair with a pot of tea and a plate of biscuits. Get out those dusty board games! To Hygge is to create a feeling of warmth and a mood of contentment.
There is something we can all learn from our Danish friends and by adopting such a positive attitude learn to enjoy the colder darker months we could even look forward to them.