Beat the Winter Blues | 5 Activities to Improve Mental Health

Woman relaxing and listening to music

Beat the Winter Blues | 5 Activities to Improve Mental Health

Are you keen to discover some helpful activities to improve mental health this winter?

 

The dark nights and cold weather may leave you feeling low and with little motivation.

 

Here, we’re looking at 5 activities to improve mental health to help you beat the winter blues:

 

Practise Yoga With an SAD Lamp

Yoga is a great way to stretch your muscles and relieve tension in your body. It can help to wake you up and energise you ready for the day. 

 

Using an SAD lamp (an appliance designed to reduce the effects of seasonal affective disorder) can maximise the benefits of your morning yoga session. The lamp simulates sunlight, which releases serotonin (the feel-good hormone). This helps your body adjust to the shorter daylight hours and improve your sleep-wake cycle in the winter months.

 

You can follow a video tutorial – or, if you’d rather socialise, why not find a local yoga class? 

Yoga Pose Under SAD lighting

 

Practise Mindful Walking

Walking, whether slowly or fast-paced, is a great form of exercise. You can find different routes to explore each day, and can go alone, with a friend, or as part of a walking group.

 

Spending time outdoors will help you to connect with nature and feel grounded, giving you the opportunity to practise mindfulness as you go. Take time to notice the feel of the grass beneath your feet, the sounds of the birds above your head, and the way you breathe as you walk. 

 

Mindfulness helps you stay present in the moment, which can reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.

Walking Mindfully in the Forest

 

Activities to Improve Mental Health: Arts and Crafts

Arts and crafts are a calming activity that can help to reduce stress and anxiety by providing a creative outlet for your emotions.

 

Painting, for example, is a great way to express yourself and relieve your stress, as you can use different tools and techniques to create an emotive image. It can also help to take your mind off any negative thoughts.

 

The act of creating something can boost your confidence and give you a sense of accomplishment. Why not learn a new craft, such as crocheting, to help focus your mind?

 

You could use your skills to make gifts for your loved ones or to donate to a local charity or hospital, such as hats for newborn babies or scarves for homeless people.

Activities to Improve Mental Health: Senior Woman Painting

 

Read or Listen to a Book

Getting lost in a good book can help to transport your mind to a new world and have an adventure without leaving your room. This can help to take your mind off your stress and boost your mood.

 

As well as exercising your brain and strengthening your cognitive skills, reading can also have a positive impact on your physical health. It can reduce your blood pressure and slow your heart rate, leading to feelings of calmness.

 

Going back to a favourite book can be a great source of comfort and promote feelings of happiness. Alternatively, you could try a new genre and open your mind to new ideas. 

 

Our favourite relaxing book is ‘Where the Crawdads Sing’ by Delia Owens. Highly engaging and comforting, it’s a great read for a cosy evening at home.

Activities to Improve Mental Health | Senior Man Reading

 

Activities to Improve Mental Health: Listen to your Favourite Music

Whether you choose to sit and listen to the radio, sing along to a playlist, or even get up and have a dance, listening to your favourite music will help you to feel good and improve your mental health.

 

Why not incorporate gentle music into your self-care routine? Unwinding in a hot bath with calming music and lavender essential oils will help you to fully relax before bed, leading to a restful night’s sleep.

Woman relaxing and listening to music

 

 

For further ideas on activities to improve mental health, why not read our previous blog on managing the effects of seasonal affective disorder?

 

Alternatively, please contact a member of our team for more information about our care home.