As the temperature drops and the darker winter months approach, our emotional and physical wellbeing remains essential.
Research has found a strong relationship between physical and mental health (Nabi et al., 2008). For instance, when we have better physical and mental health, we can continue to be active and participate in activities we enjoy, leading to a positive effect on our physical and psychological health (Ohrnberger, Fichrera & Sutton., 2017).
There are a number of ways to look after yourself physically this winter:
Get your flu jab!
The flu vaccines can protect people from getting seriously ill with the flu. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a reduced number of people would have built a natural immunity (NHS, 2021).
You can access NHS created leaflets that provide additional information about the flu vaccine. These leaflets have been translated into 26 languages and are available in large print, braille and a BSL video.
Covid booster vaccines are now available for those who have received their two doses at least six months ago. The booster will help give you better protection against seriously ill from Covid-19 (NHS, 2021).
The NHS have created a guide to the booster vaccination.
Can I have both together?
This winter, it is safe to have the flu and Covid-19 booster vaccines together (NHS, 2021).
It’s important to note that many may experience anxiety about receiving vaccinations. This anxiety may be because of experiencing uncertainty, fear of side effects, needle phobia or something else.
Check out our pages on vaccine hesitancy and needle phobia.
Quitting smoking or alcohol will have a positive impact on your physical and mental health. For instance, Drinkaware reported that cutting out alcohol will improve your energy levels and sleep and provide you with a clearer mind. Stopping smoking has also been proven to boost your mental wellbeing.
Our Substance Misuse Practitioner Stefani held a webinar about alcohol and its effects on wellbeing. Watch below (10 minutes)
Keeping Well BLMK provides support for anyone who is struggling with substance misuse, including alcohol and tobacco. All support is confidential and evidence-based and includes providing harm minimisation approaches, motivational interviewing, relapse prevention and health education.
Also, we support any supervisors or managers concerned about an employee that may be struggling with substance misuse, to ensure they receive the right support as soon as possible.
As the weather changes, it can be challenging to maintain our activity levels. But, regular exercise can help improve mood, physical health, relieve stress and tension and boost your immune system during the winter period.
The NHS has listed some ways to continue being active during the winter period.
- Strength and flexibility exercises
- Improve balance
- Flexibility movements
- Sitting and improving posture
- Strength exercises
- Running and aerobic exercises
- Running with Couch to 5K
- Knee exercises
- Stretching movements
Have you heard of Wild Swimming? Read this article by Sarah Higgins, Lead Nurse at Milton Keynes Mental Health, she talks about the benefits of wimming and how she continued to stay active during winter.