Wellbeing in colder months

Photograph of what appears to be a holly plant, covered in frost.

This business is part of West Lindsey District Council’s Think Local campaign, which aims to encourage the residents of West Lindsey to support their local independent businesses.

For more information visit our Think Local pages. To be part of the campaign, email think.local@west-lindsey.gov.uk.

infobox | Behind the Business, Wellbeing in colder months guest article

This article is written by Lisa Walker, owner of InLine Therapies based in Nettleham. Find out more about Lisa in our Behind the Business article.

text | Behind the business, Wellbeing in colder months

As the nights have become longer and the temperature drops, it’s very easy to forgo the workouts and focus instead on carb loaded comforts and comfy clothes with elasticated waistbands. The cycle of having much reduced activity, motivation and inspiration to feel your best in the colder months, taking weeks or months to bounce back from when the days warm up again doesn’t have to be inevitable and the difference can be wonderful!

You’re probably already aware that January is often assumed to be the gloomiest month of the year. So, fancy a challenge that can only pay of and making some small changes before it gets to that?

Here are some simple tips and tricks you may find useful:

Get out in to the light to naturally get your boost of vitamin D (which we don’t produce). Step outside, for any reason you can think of. You only need 10 to 30 minutes of midday light a few times a week.

Diet and nutrition are hugely important to help manage and often improve a huge list of the conditions treated by medical and healthcare professionals. Could you add a little more protein and collagen  such as meat, fish, tofu, eggs or beans?

Choose your favourite fruit and veg (maybe try something new) and add them to your regular meals. Some I can recommend include: frozen berries heated with porridge or served with chilled yoghurt, chopped orange or red grapes added to salad, omega-3 rich foods such as oils, nuts and seeds sprinkled on top (my favourite’s a good quality peanut butter in porridge).

Raining outside, don’t have time to do a workout or the inclination? Sit on a chair, without arms if possible. Feet shoulder width apart, stand up tall then sit back down slowly and repeat 10 to 30 times. Have a short rest and if manageable and repeat for another set or two.

Stairs nearby? Going up and down them for the length of your favourite song or while you’re waiting for the kettle to boil will temporarily increase your heart rate up, release endorphins and help to strengthen the muscles and bones in your hips, knees and ankles.

Ten minutes of activity that makes you breath moderately harder can help to burn energy, manage blood sugar levels (which can lower your risk of diabetes and pre-diabetes), improve your fitness, and help with mood and focus.

We know good sleep is vital to health, yet many people regularly don’t get the rest they need.

Some simple changes that can help improve your sleep health include:

  • going to and getting out of bed at a similar time every day (including weekends)
  • having fresh sheets and a comfortable mattress
  • having as dark a room as possible and not looking at a screen lit with blue light (night modes in your mobile phone settings can be very useful)

Did you know that drinking more than 1-2 servings of alcohol per day decreases sleep quality by up to 39%! With one serving being equal to one pint of 5% beer or 150ml of wine, it’s no wonder good sleep and alcohol rarely go hand in hand.

Talk! Times have changed and picking up the phone to have an actual conversation with friends and family is less frequent than a quick SMS or voice note. Talking out loud whether in person or on the phone is a great way to organise our thoughts, creates a sense of belonging and we're more likely to have a good laugh than with a typed message.

More time indoors could mean more time looking down at screens. Top tip: put a cushions or a pillow on your lap to rest your elbows on and save that aching neck!

Lastly, get that niggling ache or pain seen to. You may not need to just accept it or hope it will go away on it's own. It is likely to be something that could be improved and you can get on with life – there are fantastic physiotherapists all over the county! You can discuss it further with your GP, self refer to NHS Physiotherapy or check out local private physiotherapists at The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy website.

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