Boosting wellbeing in the colder months

The winter season should be a time for reflection about how happy we are and what changes we might want to make for a more positive outlook on life

Taking time to appreciate the beauty of the sunrise can help to improve our sense of wellbeing. © Lana Frost

Every end of the year I imagine myself enjoying being cosy in the winter, with lots of blankets, socks and roaring fires, lots of magical winter walks and marvelling at myself reading, resting, but the reality is that I often neglect my own self-care, panic on gifts buying and feeling completely overwhelmed with the busy period. The aftermath of the festivities can make it even worse, with the darkness and the cold still here for months, leaving us completely depleted and with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). The Covid pandemic is also still imposing on us a continuous challenge to keep a more balanced mental health and wellbeing during the months ahead, as we are not willing to repeat the last year’s winter experience!

So try your best to reclaim the joy of the season, how to properly “slow down” and seize the moment. The winter season should be a nice and quiet time for reflection about how happy we are, and what changes we might want to make for a more positive, humble outlook on life.

Connect to your body and recognise your mental health, if you experience anxiety, melancholy or low mood in a day, accept it for what it is – just a feeling, or thoughts, and let it move right through your body. Practice of yoga, breath work and meditation can be very practical tools to overcoming these emotions and bring balance back to your inner self, as it allows the body to enjoy calm, energy conservation and restoration. Equally, any other physical exercise – a breath of fresh air, dancing, or by giving yourself or someone else a hug – can be a powerful thing to reset the mind and help self-regulation as it can boost oxytocin and serotonin hormones that will enhance your energy levels and make you feel good. When you bring awareness to what you are feeling you can change channels and shift your energy to a better state. So instead of listening to the news, switch your radio for an empowering podcast or listen to some of your favourite music! Also, if you are able to lie on a rug or carpet and do a big stretch, then wiggle your toes, stretch arms and fingers, standing up straight and onto tip toes will let your body open up and groan back into life.

Try bringing a gratitude practice into your life, start by writing out some positive affirmations placing them around everywhere you can see, so every time you have a chance to read and fill yourself with a sense of joy and wholeness. Journaling is also a favourite way to vent feelings. Try writing a few sentences to start with, on how you feel about the day ahead, or if doing it in the evening, write about what went well today, things you are most grateful for or any other intention for the next day.

Exploring the night sky can also be a nice way to sparkle winter nights, particularly in areas like the Kyle of Sutherland where there is still not much man-made artificial light around. Wrap yourself properly and perhaps add a telescope to the mix, so you can enjoy some nocturnal activities too! When appreciating the beauty of the galaxy rather than fight the darkness, we will always feel rewarded by calming sights on a clear crisp night outside. Early rising is also a nice way to create more space in your routine to appreciate special moments, like a beautiful sun’s morning light coming through the window, listening to the rumbling of black grouse nearby, before the world is awake and the work begins.

As much as regulations allow, also take the time enjoy meeting up for coffee and cake with friends and loved ones, a ritual that should create space for regular laughter and improve the quality of your relationships. The wellbeing in winter can be found when we prioritise our self-care, balancing out cosy relaxed down-time in your home and revitalising practices. Take a stroll out in our beautiful nature and use the perfect opportunity to connect with earth charms and with ourselves: we are the only ones who can keep up with our own light from within.

by Lana Frost, Naturopath, Yoga & Meditation teacher

Last Updated on 4 December, 2021 by Kyle Chronicle

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