The Christmas period can be a time of celebration for family and friends. However, many people find it challenging. 2022 has proved to be a very hard year for many people. Domestic and financial problems, along with issues in work, can often seem particularly challenging when the weather turns colder and the days grow shorter.

Take seasonal affective disorder (SAD), for example. Its symptoms are similar to depression but they only come on at certain times of the year, usually in winter. It commonly involves low mood, loss of enjoyment and interest in life, diminished energy and sociability. Even if you aren’t affected by this condition, it’s really important to look after your wellbeing over the course of the winter months.

In spite of chilly weather, you can follow our simple winter wellbeing steps and stay well this winter.

Keep active, be healthy

Yes, it’s cold out but, provided you wrap up well, you can still get outdoors. Breathing in the fresh, crisp air and enjoying the sights and sounds of winter keeps your mind sharp. 

It’s always a good idea to drink sensibly at Christmas. Why not opt for a soft drink or a non-alcoholic beverage when you can? 

These resources can help if you’re concerned about how much or how often you’re drinking.

Stay connected

Try to meet up with friends and family. Lots of people are off work and there’s no better time to re-connect with those around you. The festive season is at its best when we’re looking out for each other.

Loneliness and isolation can hit you at this time of year. And people who are struggling with the cost of living will find winter particularly tough. You can help to spread some seasonal cheer by checking in on older neighbours or volunteering with local charities and food banks.

Plan ahead

Winter can be a very busy time, especially in the run-up to Christmas. Don’t let all the Christmas admin fall to one person. It will all go more smoothly for everyone if tasks are shared and people pull together. Think about

  • any tasks you’re stressed or worried about
  • who or what could help you complete these
  • whether you really need to do them if you’re not looking forward to them

You don’t have to join in with every holiday tradition. Focus on the things you enjoy most or find a different, more comfortable way to celebrate. Don’t be afraid to say “No” or ask for assistance from friends, family and colleagues. 

Inspire is providing some free online sessions over the next few weeks to help you be present this Christmas.

Get some shut-eye

Your mood and how you sleep are inextricably linked. Good sleep keeps us on top form and it’s one of the most important parts of day-to-day wellbeing. Sleep lets your brain and body rest and recharge. A good night’s sleep will improve your concentration and immune system, which is particularly important during winter when there are so many viruses circulating. 

Be gentle, generous and patient with yourself

It’s ok to prioritise your own wellbeing at Christmas. Think about what you need and what you need to do to get it. How you can make Christmas and New Year meaningful for yourself? If you’re worried about feeling lonely or isolated this Christmas, think of some ways to help pass the time

  • Do something creative
  • Spend time in nature
  • Plan a treat for after Christmas

These steps can make a huge positive impact on your mental health. And remember to talk to someone if you need support or connection, or any, time of year.