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Winter Wellness: Looking After Yourself at Work this Winter

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As a qualified mindset coach and wellness advocate, I’m often asked; what does “wellness” actually mean?

The World Health Organisation (“WHO”) defines wellness as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”.  This illustrates to us that health is merely a state of body whereby wellness is a state of being.

Looking after yourself is important year-round but taking some extra precautions is particularly important during the winter months where the evenings are darker, colds are more common, our social lives are busier and pre-Christmas deadlines loom.

Maintaining our wellness really comes down to balance, figuring out what works for you and making small changes. Developing your own personal health plan is easy; the difficult part is sticking to it. Don’t let this stop you – it’s absolutely doable!  In fact, it takes approximately 21 days to build a new habit, so consistency is key.

Here are 3 of the top benefits and some very achievable tips to keep you motivated along the way:

1 Increase your Brainpower

When we have a healthy mindset and feel good, we’re better versions of ourselves. This can make us better family members, friends, spouses and colleagues.

There are many ways to develop a healthier mindset and brain, one of which is meditation and mindfulness.   Research has found that a group of people who practised mindfulness for 30 mins a day over 8 weeks had physical changes to their brains.

It showed that there was an increase in the grey matter of the hippocampus (responsible for learning and memory) and a reduction in the same grey matter of the Amygdala (an area of the brain associated with stress and anxiety). Practising mindfulness has also been shown to increase problem-solving skills.

Practising mindfulness through the winter months can help us to build resilience; the ability to adapt to change and overcome the unpleasant things in our lives without being overwhelmed. It has also been found that practising mindfulness has can increase our problem-solving skills.

2 Avoid the Winter Blues

The dark winters can make some of us feel a bit blue as it’s harder to get enough sunlight and the days are shorter. One thing that can help as a mood booster is Vitamin D*.  I picked this tip up from the Icelanders who endure 26 weeks of winter!

Not only can Vitamin D contribute to making us feel a little better, but it also helps to build strong bones and supports a healthy immune system. It is still important to get as much natural light as you can.  This can help to maintain a positive attitude and boost your immune system.

As the WHO has outlined, maintaining wellness is not just being free from an illness, it is to do with our spiritual self, our social self and our mental health which can contribute to our overall happiness.

3 Increase your Energy

Maintaining physical fitness isn’t just good for weight loss but there are also other amazing benefits.  Being fit can increase our energy, improve mental health, reduce stress, contribute to longevity (and make us look younger over time!)

If you have never thought about getting fit, don’t wait for the New Year, start now! Enjoying a winter walk for just 10 minutes a day is a start.  Even taking the stairs, where possible, instead of an elevator can be a mini cardio and leg workout.

If you are new to your wellness journey and don’t know where to start it is helpful to take stock of your wellbeing.  Take a piece of paper this winter, on a scale of 1-10 (10 being excellent) score yourself in the areas of:

This will give you an indication of where your starting point is.  You can then take action to improve each area.

The above is a brief synopsis on maintaining and cultivating wellness and a positive mindset this winter. If you’re unhappy in your current role and are thinking of a change please get in touch, we’d be happy to advise.

*Always consult your doctor or medical professional first.