The Health and Wellbeing column with Mel Spencer: Tips to beat the winter blues

With winter well on the way, I thought it was worth taking a look at health and how best to look after it over this time of year.

Monday, 28th September 2020, 7:58 am
Benefits of correct nutrition and exercise boosts physical and mental health.

With winter well on the way, I thought it was worth taking a look at health and how best to look after it over this time of year.

We have the obvious Covid-19 concerns, but alongside this, the usual issues associated with this time of year can still be addressed to help maintain our physical, mental and general wellbeing.

Shorter days and colder weather can make finding motivation to do much in the way of anything including exercise feel hard work and it may be overlooked for a lie-in in a nice warm bed or an evening in front of the TV.

Coupled with this, often nutritional habits lapse as we reach for comfort foods and stodge!

Put reduced exercise and poor nutrition together and that is laying the foundation for a weakened immune system and an increased risk of illness.

The key really is to stay active and fuel yourself correctly – purely from a health perspective if nothing else.

To keep you motivated, try to stick to a weekly exercise plan.

This can be done from the comfort of your home with minimal equipment so no excuses there!

Diarise it, make an appointment with yourself and get it done – you’ll feel much better for it.

Which leads us onto the other big issue – winter blues. This time of year sees an increase in depression or low mood due to lower levels of sunlight, often referred to as SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) symptoms of which include poor sleep, anxiety, increased appetite, low mood and feeling sluggish.

When our mental wellbeing isn’t where it should be, we become even more susceptible to stress and illness. This is where exercise comes in again.

The last thing you will feel like doing is exercising, but if you can get yourself going it will payback dividends.

Not only will it help to boost your immune system, but also your mood and stave off those blues or at the very least help to keep them at bay.

So they are the benefits of correct nutrition and exercise on our health both mentally and physically.

Taking things a step further, and considering our wellbeing in general, there are lots of other things we can be doing to look after ourselves.

Try to get a good nights sleep.

Aim to go to bed and get up at the same time every day to allow your body to get into a ‘sleep routine’ as it were.

Sleep is when your body is repairing and recharging itself so is of great importance.

Mindfulness is a good one to help manage stress and anxiety.

Just taking some time out to slow the mind can be really beneficial to your mental health.

There are a plethora of apps online and I would definitely recommend giving it a go.

In general, just be kind to yourself. If you exercise, you don’t have to kill yourself to get results, consistency is far more important.

Nutritionally, you can still have your treats, just in moderation. Make sure you pamper yourself.

Run a nice bath, have a massage etc.

Just look after yourself and your body – it’s the only one you’ve got...

If you have any questions or would like further advice, you can contact me at [email protected]