Winter: How to make your life healthier and happier

Winter: How to make your life healthier and happier

Does your heart plummet when you think about winter? One of the problems of the season is that it’s more difficult to spend time outdoors. The daylight hours are short, nights are long, and work often gets in the way of opening the door onto the big wide world. It’s not surprising that people suffer from colds, depression and general malaise during this time of year. So, how can you improve your winter?

ill, illness, winter, malaise, cold, flu, depression, anxiety, health, new years resolutions, new year,  

Are you at breaking point?

If so, remember that everything is temporary. Feelings change and pass, and there are things you can do to improve your state of mind. A remedy for those feeling low can stem from taking exercise. In fact, the simple act of moving and breathing in a more vigorous manner can set into motion a mini-miracle.  It’s vital for everyone to exert their bodies physically during daylight hours.

daylight, winter, darkness, light, sunlight, health, illness, colds, flu, indoors, Christmas,  

Make the most of every minute. Even a brisk walk around the office or climbing the stairs rather than taking a lift can be enough to make a difference. It is also beneficial to expose bare skin to the elements. This doesn’t need to be a chilly stripping off in front of the neighbours, for even air on hands and face has an effect.

How to do it?

Every full-time worker needs a lunch-break and walking outside should be possible for all able-bodied people. Just five minutes exercise will make a difference to the metabolism and there will be a reward of renewed vitality for those who return to work after an outdoor break.

winter garden, garden, winter, outdoors, cold, health, mental health, colds, energy, exercise, moving,

Natural spectacles

Take note of what’s around. Gardens and public spaces are already springing into life.  Have you noticed catkins, for example? Alder trees are displaying their little, bright lambs’ tails that shimmer in the winter wind. There are dozens more sights worth admiring in the natural world and it would be a shame to miss them.

catkins, hazel, alder, trees in winter, outdoors, winter, exercise, health, vitality, illness, depression,  

They are already wiggling around in the winter breeze. There are many  spectacles that might lift your mood. Take Cornus, for example. These shrubs have now shed their autumn mantle to reveal glorious stems. Red, yellow, orange and lime green, there’s a Cornus for any of these colour combinations. In fact, some, such as C. ‘Midwinter Fire’, display multiple colours on one stem.

cornus, winter stem colour, winter plants, outdoors, health, depression, new year's resolutions,  

They appear in various colours including lime green, yellow, orange and red. Viburnum is another winter wonder. There are many different types, and each has its own special merits. V. ‘Eve Price’ has flattened heads of white flowers that are flushed with pink from December and January until April.

Viburnum 'Eve Price', winter shrub, shrub, evergreen, flowers, pink flowers in winter, garden, winter garden, plant,

Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’ is quite different, with its deeper pink flowers which are highly and deliciously scented December or January until March.

Viburnam bodnantense 'Dawn', Viburnam 'Dawn', pink flowers, winter flowers, shrub, winter, garden, flowering,

And of course, there are the heady scents of Daphne such as ‘Jacqueline Postill’; plus, the most astonishing honey scent produced by the tiny flowers of Sarcococca, also known as Christmas box.

Sarcococca confusa, Sarcococca, winter box, flowering in winter, scented winter flowers, shrub, garden,

Lower to the ground is the heather: Erica ‘Springwood White’ which is cloaked in the most marvellous blooms for much of the winter. There are Hellebores already bursting into flower and the first bulbs to risk the cold are generally Eranthis hyemalis, the winter aconite. Closely followed by snowdrops: whatever the weather.

Hellebores, Lenten roses, winter flowering, perennial, Christmas rose, flowering in winter, garden, gardening,

New year’s resolutions – don’t set yourself up to fail

new years resolutions, happy new year, 2018, resolution, loose weight, drinking less, exercising more,

Make new year's resolutions sooner rather than later. Don’t leave it until New Year’s Eve to set yourself some goals for the year. And try not to use the same resolutions as previous years.

Top tip for winter

Don’t be tempted to use any of the following, they are, unsurprisingly, the most popular new year's resolutions and they appear year after year.

  • Lose weight
  • Take more exercise
  • Stop smoking
  • Cut down on alcohol

drinking, wine, new year's resolution, drink less, resolutions, drunk, turn over a new leaf,  

It's a very common one, but not one that is often kept for long. These are ‘lifestyle aspirations’ and although they are all worthy aims, their place is in the life-plan. Give yourself more achievable new year's resolutions so you can bathe in the glory of achieving them immediately.

new year's resolutions, resolutions, winner, achieve, happy, depression, losing, goals, aims, aspirations,

Improving your life

Here’s some suggestions for resolutions that can help you to improve your life:

  • Celebrate small things. Tiny successes are every bit as important as giant leaps.

celebrations, success, party, new years resolutions, goals, achieve, positive, 2018,  

  • Count your blessings: Gratitude is said to make people 25 per cent happier! Think about all the good things that you have in your life and be grateful for them.

thanks, grateful, gratitude, appreciation, health, anxiety, new years resolutions, 2018,  

  • Learn something new every day. Notice a new word; a new thought process; or look at something in a new way; it all adds to your personality.

eyes, looking, new year's resolutions, way of looking, seeing, new approach,  

  • Live in the moment. Don’t dwell on yesterday or tomorrow (too much) because you will forget to enjoy today.

enjoy today, live for today, cherish, new year's resolution, resolution, new year, 2018,  

  • Talk to new people. There’s a lot of enjoyment to be found from striking up a conversation.

talking, new years resolution, good for you, 2018, new year, happy,  

  • Nurture things. Possessions, people, pets, house plants. It’s good for you and the ‘caring’ side of your personality will develop.

caring, nurturing, new year, 2018, health, happiness, resolution, house plant,