Louise Thompson: Winter wellbeing
Wrap up and make sure you get some sunlight. It’s super-important to get some sunlight, even when there is a chill in the air. Sunlight assists in vitamin D production and regulating serotonin levels. Serotonin is your happy hormone and vitamin D keeps your bones strong.
Longer, darker days can leave your mood lower and make you irritable and down. Ensuring you get some natural sunlight is important, even if you are leaving for work in the dark and coming home in the dark. Commit to leaving your office’s artificial light at lunchtime and take an invigorating walk to get a blast of natural light to lift your mood and keep you smiling.
Keep up your level of exercise. It’s tempting to hunker down and chill under a blankie when it’s cold outside. Keeping up your exercise rate will lift your mood up with all those endorphins, as well as ensuring a good mood when it’s time to peel off again at bikini time in the summer.
Switch up your sport or invest in some cosy winter gear and get on your bike or hit the trails and help your body help you to stay fit and happy through the midwinter chill.
Keep it social. Hibernation is for bears, not humans. Keeping up your social interactions might take a bit more effort than in the summer when it’s barbecues-a go-go and easy to meet up at the beach or casually around the neighbourhood. Creating some winter socials like a book club or a midwinter Christmas to strengthen your social connections will keep filling your happiness bank.
Get an accountability buddy. If you are struggling to keep up with the exercise habit in the winter, it’s a great excuse to partner up and make a firm commitment with a friend or a group to make sure it’s a happening thing.
You are far more likely to get out of bed and put a hat on to make that morning walk if you know your buddy is waiting for you on the corner in the cold! Increased exercise and social connection with this is a two-for-one tip.
Pay it forward. Winter can be a lonely time for many. This is a great time to pay it forward; check on your elderly neighbours and see if they need a hand with anything. Take their recycling up the drive so they can stay warm, do a run to the shops if it’s icy, provide a bit of company and conversation. Warm the cockles of your heart with some random acts of kindness.
For an additional vitamin D boost, whip up a few recipes featuring oily fish, eggs, whole dairy and liver. See our collection of recipes here.
Through her online Happiness programme “Wellbeing Warriors”, life coach Louise Thompson helps people unlock their happiest and healthiest life. Sign up at louisethompson.com and find more from Louise at bite.co.nz/wellbeing