23 Mar 2023  |  Anita Aleksandrova

Mona’s guide to becoming a Winter Wellbeing Warrior

It’s cold, it’s dark, and you feel like hiding under your duvet. You crave comfort foods and drinks. The excuses you make for getting out have increased. On some days, you don’t even get to see the sun! However, the doom and gloom hole isn’t inevitable. 

But how do we survive these cold dark days? We can all take simple steps from surviving to thriving this Winter. Follow Mona’s tips on how to become a winter wellbeing warrior every week.

TIP #1: Learn to say NO

You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to.

Everything is in your control, and you really can say ‘No’.

However, this is easier said than done, as society expects a lot from us. So you must develop a strong will and boundaries to create the Winter YOU want to experience.

What activities do you like and dislike doing? What makes this time of year more pleasant for you?

Find your positives and spend time on them rather than those that make you unhappy.

Here are some ideas on how to say ‘No’ politely:

“I appreciate your offer, but I am taking care of myself today, so I can’t make it”

“Its been a challenging year financially. I am being low key and looking after my finances so I can get through this period feeling okay”

Tip # 2 guides you to go outside and move your body

At first glance, it might seem contradictory to tip #1. However, getting active trains your body and mind to become more resilient.

When its cold, our brains and bodies want to hibernate and stay warm. The last thing our brain wants us to do is to go outside, let alone do anything active that involves additional effort. 

However, research shows that getting outside and moving our bodies will strengthen our wellbeing and help build a robust immune system. You will also get physically fitter, build confidence, increase your endurance, reduce fatigue and improve sleep and stress management.

But how you feel is also affected by what you put in your body and how you nourish it.

Tip #3 Healthy diet, healthy body

You don’t have to make drastic changes. Adding an immune-boosting smoothie a day will give you plenty of rewards.

Mona recommends using bananas and pineapple for healthy carbs and natural sweeteners. Veggie greens for extra fibre and vitamins. Add a bit of ginger, black pepper, manuka or raw honey to make your smoothie more exotic. And lastly, Mona likes to use oat milk for a delicious creamy taste, and we couldn’t disagree with her the slightest.

What you put in your body affects how you feel.

One of the 6 ways to wellbeing is spending time with friends, which gives us so much more than connection. We can feel warmth and empathy from someone. We can talk about something that might be stressing us out. We get to share stories. It makes us feel good, less lonely, and more loved.

Tip #4 – Connect with people around you

Mona suggests you write a list of the people in your life you enjoy spending time with, and then make sure you book them in your diary.

Moving onto tip #5 – help others less fortunate than you

Do you have an elderly family member who lives alone and could do with some support? Is their place warm enough, do they have enough to eat? Do you have a friend who is living at home but not getting on with their family? Can you help them get out for the day?

Now more than ever, we need to start thinking about how to help others, less fortunate than us. This is not to say that we don’t have our own issues to deal with. But sometimes, thinking about others and using our time to help those in need helps us put things in perspective, and research shows it also makes us feel good.

You can help further by donating money or time to a charity. There are many charities to choose from and many ways to help.

Tip 6 – Make a wellbeing first aid toolbox!

What’s in your wellbeing first aid kit box? Find an old shoe box/jar and think about what things you need to put in there for days when you feel under the weather.

Identify your stress triggers, and then work out what you need to access quickly to help alleviate this for you.

Some examples may include a photo to remind you of a happy time or place; a notepad for journaling or drawing; something that can soothe you down quickly – a special scent or something sensory that you like the feel of (essential oils, a perfume, something furry or a fidget toy).

But above all – the most essential mantra is to be kind – yes to others – but first of all to yourself.