As the days grow colder, we often curl up and hibernate inside warm buildings. In fact, trends in Google searches relating to mental health were found to be similar to trends in weather patterns1. We recently conducted a survey to ask for people’s ideas on how to proactively stay mentally healthy in winter. Many of their ideas are also supported by research.
Collectively, the survey respondents have stated that going out and socialising is a great way to keep yourself mentally healthy. If you prefer to stay inside, sitting on the couch with a good book by the heater and a hot meal might be more of your cup of tea. If it’s too cold or it’s pouring outside or even snowing, you can still maintain your social life by inviting your friends over for a movie night or to play games.
It is important to keep yourself moving! Exercising is a great way to stay positive in winter, but it can be hard to find the motivation. Try to find an activity that you enjoy and invite a few friends to join. Especially during the days where the sun is out, seize the opportunity to go out for a brisk 30-minute walk with some friends and family, or your dog if you have one. Exposing yourself to light can help lift your mood during the extended hours of darkness2.
Along with the drop in temperature, colds and flus can also get in the way of both your physical and mental health. You should stay hydrated and stock up on healthy and delicious food. Keep a water bottle nearby and focus on eating foods that can boost your energy and help you get through the day. You can do this by swapping processed, junk food for highly nutritional food like vegetable stew or soup3. You should also try to maintain a regular sleep schedule, as the days grow shorter and shorter.
Today, most phones have a preinstalled health tracker app but if yours doesn’t, don’t worry. There are lots of different apps to choose from to help your mental health bloom this winter. To keep track of all the lifestyle choices to stay mentally healthy, you easily can search and download any app of your choosing from the AppStore or the Google Play Store. You can set goals for anything health related, like how many steps you should take every day, or how many hours of sleep you should get each night.
 Ayers, J., Althouse, B., Allem, J., Rosenquist, J., & Ford, D. (2013). Seasonality in Seeking Mental Health Information on Google. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 44(5), 520–525. https://doi.
 The Best Ways to Beat a Winter Depression During the Darker Months (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.sleepfoundation.org/
 Ways to feel happier in winter. (2016). Retrieved from https://