10 ways to make the most of Winter (and your wellbeing)

When the nights draw in and the temperature drops, so can our mood. Some souls are profoundly affected. Some of us notice a little less spring in our step, a little less energy and enthusiasm for what we do day in, day out. And, just maybe, some of us may be aware we use Winter as a big fat excuse to eat as though we’re about to hibernate for three months (hands up if you’ve already eaten a mince pie).

How about we flip that gloom and look for what’s good about Winter – and celebrate it?

Here are some ideas for making the most of the season:

1. Read that book: whether it’s a much-loved novel (I’m reading a Jane Austen for the umpteenth time), a business book or a biography, Winter’s a great time to curl up with a good read. See writers’ picks via Evening Standard.

2. Make a playlist: music can really help our mood. Compile a playlist of your favourite dance tracks this year or choose something ambient and soothing. Even better, sing along to your choice of feel-good music.

3. Phone a friend: before you write yet another Christmas card with the message ‘we must catch up in the New Year!’ why not have a conversation now? The evidence that hearing a voice creates stronger bonds than text-based communications (such as chat or email) is building up.

4. Create a mood board: you can review your year so far, dream about what you want next year to bring, or simply gather images that fit how you feel right now. Even if you’re not jumping for joy, getting the thoughts out of your head and onto a mood board will provide food for thought.

5. Cook something seasonal: choosing seasonal food means less food miles and more nutrition. BBC Good Food has recipe ideas.

6. Have a clear-out: now’s a good time to sift and sort what you want to keep and what you no longer need. If it’s a regretted buy that’s never been used, have a go at selling it online. Or donate to a good cause [At time of writing, charity shops are closed, so give unwanted items a clean and keep them ready for when they can be donated].

7. Make something: have a go at making your Christmas cards and decorations. Good Housekeeping has gathered 42 DIY ideas.

8. Do some good: donate money to help people in need – Winter is life-threatening for the homeless and others in a risky environment. Or donate some time, for example, helping deliver food parcels.

9. Make Christmas gifts: if you have a talent for crochet or tapestry, water colour or photography, these make lovely gifts, as does home-made jam or chutney. Here are 88 DIY ideas, from Country Living.

10. Get outdoors: that’s what hats, gloves, scarves and boots are for. Ideally, get outdoors surrounded by nature: rivers and ponds, valleys and hills; trees and birds. AllTrails can give you some ideas.


You may find this post useful: ‘5 ways to build your resilience’



Dawn is the author of ‘The Feedback Book’ and ‘How to be Zoomly at work’



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