We often look forward to the festive season in the winter months and it’s always a shame when health issues get in the way of our plans. The fact is, winter can be quite challenging for our health which is why, we are encouraged to get a flu jab and most importantly, the Covid vaccine + booster to support and boost our immune system. As the festive season is over, it’s now time to remind you to keep looking after yourself. Our lead Social Prescriber, Diana Norris recommends the six tips below to help boost your health and hopefully, get you through the rest of winter!
What can I do to boost my health and wellbeing this winter?
- Keep moving. On cold, dark days, it can be tempting to stay glued to the sofa but regular exercise can boost our mood and our immune system, keep our weight healthy and lower our blood pressure. Just a brisk, ten-minute walk or a simple indoor exercise can go a long way. For ideas on how to keep moving this winter visit Get active – Better Health – NHS (www.nhs.uk)
- Eat well. Long dark, evenings can leave us craving comfort food so make sure you eat a balanced diet including five portions of fruit and vegetable a day. Citrus fruits like satsumas are a great source of vitamin C while Brussel sprouts contain vitamins A, B, K and C. Also cut down on refined sugar and take supplements where needed with your GP’s guidance. For more information and healthy recipe ideas visit: Eat well – NHS (www.nhs.uk).
- Drink sensibly. Many people enjoy a glass or two of their favourite tipple but try not to overindulge, particularly during the festive period. Remember that alcohol is a depressant and it can cause argumentative and aggressive behaviour. For information and advice on drinking sensibly this winter visit Drinkaware Home | Drinkaware.
- Get plenty of sleep. Many people find that limited sunlight during the winter months disturbs their sleep patterns, leaving them feeling tired and lacking in energy. Wrapping up warm and going outside into natural daylight as much as possible can help reset our body’s inner clock. It also helps to draw your curtains early in the morning and let as much sunlight in as possible. For more tips on getting a good night’s sleep visit How to get to sleep – NHS (www.nhs.uk)
- Stay connected. Loneliness is bad for our mental and physical health. Studies have linked loneliness to an increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, depression and anxiety. The good news is that helping others can be good for our health so check up on family, friends and neighbours who live alone this winter. You can also take it to the next level and volunteer. Visit Home – Community Links Bromley for more information on volunteering.
- Get your Mind plan. Many people find the dark winter months affect their mood and wellbeing and this year we are once again facing ongoing difficulties presented by COVID 19. Check-in with yourself now and then to see how you are coping and reach out for help if you need it. By answering five simple questions you can Get Your Mind Plan – Every Mind Matters – NHS (www.nhs.uk)
Stay well and safe.
This blog was written by Diana Norris who is our lead social prescriber at BGPA.
A social prescriber (also referred to as a link worker) is someone who helps patients find new ways to improve how they feel. This includes linking patients to community groups and voluntary organisations running a wide range of activities from benefits advice, employment help to bereavement support, walking groups and gardening clubs. Social prescribers support the health and wellbeing of patients by helping improve their emotional and social wellbeing.