Alas, the festivities of Christmas and New Year are officially over. Boo! And returning to work and getting back into the daily routine can leave us feeling a little blue and in need of a winter pick-me-up.
In fact, in 2005, a UK travel company came up with the term Blue Monday for the third Monday in January, which they said was “the most difficult day of the year,” considering that the weather is often dreary, new year resolution attempts may be unsuccessful, cold and flu are doing the rounds and the next pay day seems forever away!
Although this was obviously a clever term created by the travel company’s marketing team to get people enthused about summer holidays, being mindful of our wellbeing and how we’re feeling, whether it be Blue Monday or at any other point in the year, is essential to living a happy and healthy life.
Being lovers of the great outdoors, and to help you banish the winter blues, we’ve put together some ideas that will give you a natural boost, helping you to regain motivation, improve your mood and put winter wellness defences in place.
Make the most of the winter sunshine
Around 1 in 6 of us have low levels of vitamin D, but making sure we’re getting our daily dose can boost our immunity and mood and helps keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy. Whilst vitamin D is found in many foods including oily fish, red meat, eggs, leafy greens and beans, sunlight can be the most effective way for us to top up our vitamin D levels. Winter sunshine is glorious and there’s no better feeling than wrapping up to head out for a brisk walk, give the garden a bit of a tidy up or simply enjoy a morning coffee in the luxury of your Breeze House, with the warming sun on your face.
It’s the time of year when colds and the flu are at their peak, which can leave us feeling drained. But there are some simple, natural remedies that can help take the edge off and actually help you to heal quicker.
Hot water with honey and lemon is the most popular choice to help sooth a sore throat and ease congestion in a comforting way. Cooked elderberries are high in vitamin C and antioxidants, which can help boost your immunity – check out these delicious recipes for elderberry crumble and jam from BBC Good Food. Garlic is also thought to have anti-microbial properties that may help the immune system fight viral infections and is packed with antioxidants. Now is a good time to plant garlic cloves to grow your own for the next time the lurgy hits; this handy guide from the RHS gives you all the details on growing your own garlic.
Reflect on your natural surroundings
The practice of mindfulness (a way of directing non-judgemental awareness towards our thoughts, feelings, environment and body) has been found to reduce feelings of stress and increase feelings of self-compassion and empathy. Who doesn’t want to be a little kinder to themselves?
Mindfulness allows us to focus on the present moment and our natural surroundings. The practice of mindfulness has roots in meditation which aims to quieten your mind and help you find stillness and rest. Many forms of meditation can be found in ancient religious traditions around the world and it is often practiced outdoors to further stimulate the senses.
Aside from the practice of meditation, another way to focus your mind, help you relax and boost creativity is crafting. Most of you will have seen Tom Daley in the stand at the 2020 Olympics, deeply focused on his knitting to concentrate his mind on something other than his upcoming competition. He even said himself that the knitting formed part of his mindfulness routine. So why not give it a go? We’re loving blanket arm knitting at the moment – it’s super easy to pick up, right on trend and once you’ve finished you’ll have a lovely plush blanket – perfect for cosying up in your Breeze House this winter. Woolly Mahoosive have put together this tutorial video to show you how it’s done!
Connect with others
The Five Ways to Wellbeing is a set of simple steps that we can all follow to help improve our mental health and wellbeing. The first step, Connect, looks at social relationships and how feeling close to, and valued by other people is a fundamental human need and one that contributes to us feeling well.
Having meaningful conversations with a friend or family member can help build positive relationships, allowing you to share experiences and get the emotional support you both need.
And what could be better than spending an afternoon catching up with a loved one over a pot of tea and slice of cake in the special setting of your Breeze House?
In fact, The Samaritans are championing turning Blue Monday into Brew Monday and encouraging us all to start meaningful conversations over a brew. After all, a good cuppa and a chat can make everything feel better.