Looking after our winter wellbeing is even more important this year. Here are a few tips from us to look after yours and stay positive this season.
Looking for fun winter wellbeing things you can do by yourself (or withwho you live with, or one carefully selected other)?
It’s Lockdown 3 and we’ve got the idea with Joe Wicks, Yoga with Adrienne and attempting a sourdough bake. After being holed up for Christmas we know the drill, and we know exactly what every street around our houses looks like.
So, let’s leap over the usual vague winter wellbeing advice of drinking enough water, eating well, getting some exercise and chasing after that elusive Vitamin D, shall we?
What more can we do to keep any remnants of Seasonal Affective Disorder at bay, and fuel our hearts with love and positivity?
If you’re ready for something new, just introducing a few of these winter wellbeing tips in your life will help with your mental health during one of the most difficult winters in our lifetime.
Winter Wellbeing Outside
If you’re looking for winter wellbeing tips for the great outside, then here you go. Or, if inside is more your thing – keep scrolling.
PLEASE CHECK THE LATEST GOVERNMENT RULES & ADVICE AND MAKE SURE YOU’RE SAFE TO YOURSELF AND OTHERS.
1. Dancing in the woods
Get music on, wellies on, and be free!
This is one of my favourite winter wellbeing ideas: get your one allotted friend, go and find a secret spot in the woods (near your home), play some music from your phone, and dance.
Just let loose.
If you have no woods near you, then a quick dance in the morning will improve your motivation for the day. That’s tried and tested, guaranteed.
2. Try wild swimming
It’s been proven that a cold dip to start the day improves your mental health. I’m lucky living in Southsea as I’m surrounded by water, and can go for a dip any time. This was me at the end of January having a dip.
There are lots of Facebook groups for any wannabe wild swimmers, just have a look in your area. If you’re around Hampshire, then it’s the Solent Bluetits for you.
Even just a few minutes in the cold water gives a whole load of health benefits.
3. Go Stand Up Paddleboarding
If you were one of the thousands that took up paddle boarding in the summer, then it might seem a little daunting to carry it on in the winter months, but don’t let the cold weather put you off!
The hardest part of winter paddleboarding is leaving the house.
It’s so invigorating!
I’ve put together a guide for where to go paddleboarding in Hampshire if ever you’re in the area.
4. Walk every street of your area
You might be totally sick of walking your local area, but what if you set some sort of challenge?
You could get an ordnance survey map and mark off the streets as you walk them, or you could set yourself the 10k challenge or even venture to the Couch to 5k challenge.
I’ve vowed to do the 1000 mile challenge this year.
Just getting up and out will really help with the whole feeling low on energy and like everything is a chore thing.
5. Skipping with a rope
If you’re short on space, or you don’t want to be around other people right now, then skipping with a rope in a room, or garden, or bit of path is one of the best exercises you can get in a small space.
Put your earphones in, rope out, and get jumping.
6. Cycling somewhere new
Cycling was big for me in the spring lockdown, and the summer one too. I cycled round Portsea Island about 250 times. TBH, I’m sick of it. I can do it in my head.
With the current lockdown, I can’t go too much further.
But, I wanted to include cycling in these winter wellbeing tips because it’s great exercise, and maybe you haven’t tried it yet?
7. Climbing trees
With our routines all out of whack, not having the touch of family, the chat of friends and the gyms and pools to thrash out our excess energy, we need to turn to new things to do outside.
How about climbing a tree?
A bit of good old fashioned kids fun that makes us laugh is a great idea right now.
Do NOT fall out of said tree though.
The NHS has enough on its plate.
8. Walking photo challenge
Do a Google search of photo challenges and there are loads you can do in and around your home.
Photo challenges are a great way to up your skills, and to notice your surroundings in a different way. If you actually go out looking for beauty, then the more you’ll find, and photograph.
9. Set yourself a challenge
In December I finished the 60-mile Solent Way in 5 day trips. It was tough at times – especially doing it in winter – but it was a good sense of achievement to get to the end. And great to have a set goal to keep me busy and on target.
Proving to yourself that you can do a challenge like this is a boost your mental health and winter wellbeing, especially right now.
10. Cook on a bonfire
How about having a little bonfire in your garden, or a firepit?
You could cook potatoes in the embers, bananas cooked in skins with chocolate buttons melting in the middle, or sausages on a stick.
You could even fire up a winter BBQ. I know that would help my winter wellbeing! Shame I live in a very tight terrace…
11. How about some cartozoology?
Look at the map, try to connect the roads to form the shape of an animal, or even better, something rude. Then walk, run or cycle the route you made.
Great way to explore a familiar area in a new way, and these are the kinds of exercise reports I like to see on social media!
Winter Wellbeing Inside
Looks like the days are going to get even colder – great opportunity for staying inside then. Here are a few ways to look after your winter wellbeing from the inside.
12. YouTube fitness / online fitness
One of my lockdown heroes is Kassandra, from Yoga with Kassandra. She has so many yoga YouTube tutorials to work through, I love her.
I started with her 10 minute yoga videos which are great for when you don’t have time / can’t be bothered. I find once I’ve done one of those I’m usually up for doing another one.
You just have to look around to find the online fitness teacher for you.
I’ve recently been doing the Body Balance videos on Les Mills, which are great. You can get a month free trial right now – I did a ballet class the other night!
13. Indoor cycling
Get a turbo for your bike and find some Spin classes on YouTube. I’ve done this, but admittedly I’ve only been on it a few times.
If you manage a few classes, then you could sign up to join Zwift.
And then if you really like indoor cycling you could look at getting a Peloton bike.
14. Pick an actor/tress and watch every film
You don’t have to be active to work on your winter wellbeing. One of the most wholesome and lovely things to do on a rainy day, is to watch a film.
‘No shit Sherlock’, you say?
Well, if you feel like you’ve completed Netflix and Amazon Prime, then how about picking an actor or actress and watching every film they’ve ever done.
My top choices would be Tom Hanks and Julie Walters. I mean, why haven’t they done a film together?
15. Learn to cook new things
I love the idea of #CookJan, where you choose new recipes and ideas of what to cook, and connect with food in a different way. No reason why you can’t carry it on to February.
Being properly nourished and learning something new are two of the best steps to winter wellbeing. If you love food, have a go at our food quiz, and check out these fun English food facts before you do.
“Let’s think about food and nourishment differently. Let’s crack open the cookbooks we were lovingly given for Christmas and let’s spend January learning to nourish ourselves with all the thought, warmth, love and care that we deserve.”– Alice Slater, creator of CookJan
16. Have a dinner party
On that note: have a dinner party!
Whoever you live with (even if it’s just you) deserves a delicious home cooked three course meal. Get dressed up, get some nice wine in, and go to the same amount of trouble you would if you had friends or family over.
You could always Zoom in another dinner party too!
17. Quiz nights
I’ve written a few quizzes on here with the goal of getting your brain ticking over until your next adventure.
Check out my Wildlife Quiz, my Nature Quiz or my 70s Quiz. There’s also a Sports Quiz, an English Literature Quiz and a Film Quiz too. You could organise with friends on Zoom for you to do it as a pub quiz night.
It’ll be fun, and every party needs an enthusiastic leader to get it going.
That could be you!
How about doing a winter quiz to try and beat those winter blues?
18. Do an online course
Next up in this winter wellbeing guide, your brain. You need a way to stimulate yourself mentally. How about doing an online course?
Last year I did a Future Learn course on Content Design, which I actually thought was really good.
Just to note as a warning, do NOT go with Shaw Academy. They’re absolute scammers. I’m now £49.99 light, even though I definitely 100% cancelled. There’s a lot of bad reviews on Shaw Academy, so don’t even go on the website.
I’ve also tried a few Udemy courses and didn’t really enjoy them either.
But, there are some good free and paid for courses out there, which will be great for your mental wellbeing in winter.
This is a great opportunity to try new things.
Just make sure you read the reviews before you commit with any money, and time.
19. Write for me!
Feeling a bit bereft with all this extra time on your hands?
How about flexing your writing skills and writing for me?
I’m always looking for new voices on this site, and you could introduce the rest of England to a whole new place or activity. Check out our write for us page here.
20. Feed the birds
If you just want to sit on your arse and watch the world go by, THAT IS FINE. Be kind to yourself.
If you’re not able to get out and see nature for yourself, as much as you like, then how about installing a cool bird feeder and getting them to come to you?
21. Learn something FUN
It doesn’t have to be big or grand.
How about learning a new hairstyle, or how to write a poem, or how to make a signature cocktail? If you’re bored of the trusty gin and tonic, it could be time to venture out and learn a new skill – cocktail making.
Just add a bit of fun to your winter wellbeing toolkit to get you through. And if that ‘fun’ is alcohol, then all the better.
22. Plan adventures
We might not be able to actually go on adventures, but we can definitely sit at home and plan them.
We might not know what the future of travel holds, but one things for sure – we all deserve a few days out!
23. Practice gratitude
And, finally, I thought I’d close with one of the best winter wellbeing tips, to practice gratitude.
I’ve done a few workshops with Charla from the Grateful Hearts Club to set me on the right path to gratitude. She lives in Southsea, but offers the online gratitude workshops online for all.
It’s still a work in progress for me, to remember to do it everyday, but it definitely helps in low times. I usually use it as a reaction to events, rather than jotting it down every day like other people.
Practicing gratitude is a great routine to get in year round to remind you of what’s good in the world, and in your life.
Your winter wellbeing
Looking after your winter wellbeing is up to you – no one’s going to hold your hand with this. Look for the little wins, and don’t write off entire days for something happening for a minute, or hour or two.
The days where I’ve felt the best always include getting outside, having some good food, and making the time to talk to someone else. Also, paddle boarding.
C’mon you can do this. If you’re having trouble just remember the glorious weather we had in England in April in 2020, and note that it’s not too far away!