I’m typing this whilst snow is hitting the window panes, the temperature is -1˚C. Despite the wholesome change of scenery, it can be a challenging time for some. Listed below are nine tips and tricks that can help with self-care over the winter months.
- Try and schedule a one hour daily walk in between studying or chilling at home. Midday walks when the sunlight is the most intense is the best time to go for a ramble around your local area. Excellent local walking spots around campus include Kirkstall Valley Nature Reserve, Meanwood Park and Woodhouse Moor and Ridge.
- Vitamin D supplements can give you a helping hand; tying in with the reduction in hours of sunlight, reduced intake of this vitamin can cause you to feel more fatigued, sluggish and under the weather. Supplements are cost effective on a budget and can help minimise those winter blues.
- Purchasing a hand balm or moisturiser can help work wonders on dry, flaky hands that are exposed to the elements. Keep them further protected by a pair of thick gloves or mittens! They’re practical and can add an adorable feature to your Winter outfit.
- Relieve some tension by taking a soak in a hot bath. This can help relax you before you prepare for sleep, helping ease you into a better night’s rest. Waking up more recharged for your day ahead can make a huge difference. The heat from the water also raises your core body temperature which improves blood flow, lowering blood pressure and reducing inflammation.
- Try out meditation! This can really help centre you in times of uncertainty and stress, reducing our cortisol levels and practicing mindfulness. Adding this to your daily routine or engaging sporadically can be a mechanism for stress reduction that you can take into next year with you.
- Keep yourself hydrated. Dehydration is common, studies have shown that we are 40% less thirsty during the winter months! It is vital that we keep just as topped up on fluids as we do in summer.
- Take some time away from your phone if you can. When our activity levels are lower, we are all guilty of the mindless scroll through social media from time to time. Scheduling time away from your phone to spend on completing tasks or spending quality time with yourself and loved ones is important. There is absolutely nothing wrong with needing this time to recharge. Similarly, try not to sleep with your phone too close! If you do need to use your phone before you drift off, remember to always turn your blue light off activating your night shift settings.
- Journal and express your thoughts and feelings through any creative means. All feelings are valid,so remember to treat yourself with kindness and compassion.
With most of the University closing soon, shifting from your normal routine can be especially offsetting when you are faced with challenges. It is therefore normal to feel stressed and overwhelmed. You are not alone in feeling this way, resources to help you through this period are listed below.
- Together All. A supportive online community that offers 24hr support every day of the year. Trained councillors are online and available continuously. To access: sign up with your University email address initially, you can then choose to use an anonymous Username at togetherall.com.
- Samaritans. Offering 24hr emotional support to anyone who needs to talk. Contact number: 116 123 or 0113 245 6789 (Leeds line).
- Leeds Crisis Team for urgent mental health support on (0300) 3001485 or get in touch with Dial House Leeds.
- giveusashout.org offers free confidential, 24hr support available by text message. Text ‘shout’ to 85258.