Private health cover
We provide business healthcare cover for 1 to 249 employees. Our plans are built around the needs of you and your business.
How to look after your mental health in winter
If you think winter may be having a negative effect on you, it’s important to not dwell too much on how you’re feeling. Instead, be proactive and take some steps to help yourself to start feeling better. These can include:
Get active: One of the best things you can do is to get active. Even though the weather may not be the best, being active can really help to boost your mood. Whether that’s a gentle stroll to the park to feed the ducks, a brisk walk around the block, a bike ride or a run. Being outside and getting some natural daylight can boost your mood and help to reduce both anxiety and depression. It can be easy to put this off, particularly if the weather is cold and wet, but try to make the effort and be positive. Remember that each activity is like a little boost and can be preventative, so don’t wait until you’re feeling low to get out and get active.
Be mindful: While you’re out, be aware of your surroundings. Feel the cold, hear the crunch of the ground beneath your feet, listen to the sound of the birds, feel the fresh air as you breathe in and out. This mindful approach shifts our attention and thoughts from inside us to outside us, from what might happen to what is happening right now. Mindfulness has been shown to reduce worrying and anxiety, and just makes us feel better. While you are out and about, smile and say hello to people. It’s amazing how this simple act makes us feel good and can make someone else’s day too.
Think of others: Along the same lines as this, you could do something for someone else. Fetching groceries, a newspaper, having a bunch of flowers delivered to their door. By giving something to others, we feel better ourselves.
Do more of what you love: Make the time to do the things that you like doing. Whether that’s reading, listening to music, doing a crossword, yoga or baking, for example. Doing things we enjoy can give us something to look forward to and then taking part in the activity gives us a sense of satisfaction and pleasure. Our brain will in turn release its happy hormones, making us feel better.
Limit your exposure to bad news: Constant exposure to bad news isn’t going to improve your thoughts or mood. See if you can limit your news intake to once per day. Social media can be great at providing us with social interaction, but it can also be a source of negativity. Consider having a clear out of the negative people, those you avoid or those who annoy you. A social media spring clean can set a more positive tone for these interactions.
Spring clean: Whether it’s spring cleaning the house, organising the garage or tidying the garden, it can all have a positive effect.
Stay in touch: Get social with others. Call up a friend, perhaps someone you’ve been meaning to call for a while. Have a chat, make some plans for the future – you can use video chat to see their face. You could have a virtual coffee or a glass of wine together.
Limit technology: If the weather is bad, try not to overuse technology, staring at screens all day and night is associated with poor emotional wellbeing. We can become fatigued, particularly if we’re using screens all day at work as well. It’s important to take regular breaks – get up, move around and go outside.
Get a good night’s sleep: In winter, it’s easy to slip into bad sleep habits - late nights, later and later mornings while it’s still dark outside. Take control of your sleep habits. Get a good amount of sleep every night and try to keep to a routine and recharge each night. Exercise is good for sleep, alcohol is bad for good quality sleep.
Get more light: For some people, home daylight boxes can be beneficial. These stimulate sunlight and trigger serotonin release and can also help with maintaining a sleep cycle.