Parenting

6 ways to improve your mental health in the cooler weather

Winter is coming. You can feel the temperature dropping, the days are shorter with less sunshine.

Where you used to look forward to your workouts and they made you feel energised and ready to tackle your day, it’s becoming harder to find the motivation to exercise in the cold. Added to that, life is so fast paced and being responsible for the kids’ daily routine and the upkeep of daily life is hectic.

When we stop prioritising our mental health, it affects the way you parent, the way you interact with others and the way you feel about yourself. If you feel yourself sliding back into old, destructive ways of thinking, here are a few tips to help you get back on track.

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6 tips to help you improve your mental health

1) Try something new

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Put yourself outside of your comfort zone. Whether it’s joining a yoga class, learning how to rock climb or taking a few pole dancing classes, have a fun little indoor adventure!

Along with the exercise, the sense of adventure will increase neurotransmitters in your brain such as serotonin and epinephrine which make you feel more confident and upbeat. Visit your local gym for more information on what they offer.

On a budget? Call your friends over for some extra motivation and fun and try The Healthy Mummy 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge which is an affordable way to lose weight at home (without fancy gym equipment). 

2) Get the family and friends together

You don’t need a special occasion to get together; whether it’s having a laugh doing The Healthy Mummy home workouts or playing cards with a cup of tea, being surrounded by those you have a connection with will release oxytocin – the bonding molecule.

When you first met your partner, when you feed your baby or play with your kids, oxytocin is responsible for that feeling of longing and love. This will not only leave you all feeling happy, but it also keeps your mind in a positive space where the little things that go wrong daily don’t seem that big of a deal anymore.

3) Practise forgiveness

This may be the most difficult thing you do all day but it is essential to your mental health. You may find it’s possible to forgive your partner for not taking the rubbish out or the kids not cleaning up after themselves but can you forgive yourself? Can you forgive yourself for not exercising this past week? Or perhaps you overindulged in some delicious Marks & Spencer pastries from the food hall.

Guilt is a hard emotion to work through but if we can stop looking in the rear-view mirror, it is possible to breathe out, let go of that guilt and look at the present as an opportunity to create new habits. When you forgive yourself, you build resilience which will help you allow yourself to make mistakes but get back on track quicker.

4) Think to feel

How you think about yourself affects the way you feel about yourself. If you think of yourself as fat/ugly etc. you start to look for experiences to validate these thoughts, making you then see yourself as whatever you think you are. You can change this way of thinking by substituting some negative words with positive actions.

Instead of saying to yourself “I missed working out last week but what’s the point? I’ll always be fat” try instead- “I missed working out last week. I will do my best to attempt working out this week so I can feel healthier”. You may feel silly at first but if the alternative is viewing yourself in a negative way, you have nothing to lose.

5) Be grateful

There have been numerous studies that have linked gratitude to a more positive and improved state of mind. The most widely researched method of gratitude is journaling or writing down something you are grateful for every day.

It could be as simple as the ray of sunshine in your garden, or perhaps the health of your children and the love of your partner. Being thankful for things in your life will help get you back on track to a healthier you and a more positive mind.

6) Eat well

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Eating to improve mental health has got to be the most enjoyable by far! Healthy carbs (wholemeal breads, oats) in moderation increase serotonin, foods high in protein increase dopamine- both assist in the increase of a positive, feel-good mood.

If you enjoy kippers and eggs for breakfast or tea, you’re on the right track! Omega-3 has shown to improve mood and cognition which is plentiful in both fish and eggs. And of course, fruit and vegetables are good for every single part of your body. If you’re time poor or on a budget, visit The Healthy Mummy website for thousands of healthy meal ideas that will leave you feeling nourished, without sacrificing taste or quality.

Working on your mental health can be difficult in times when you’re not coping with life or you’re incredibly stressed or anxious. If you find this is you, talk to someone to get help. You are not alone. Visit your general practitioner for more information or support. 

More on the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge

Our 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge is a family-friendly, breastfeeding-safe program designed FOR MUMS to help them lose the baby weight. 

Every week you are given a different meal plan to follow and each month we add NEW recipes to our Challenge Recipe Hub. That way, you’ll never get bored and stay on weight loss track while digging into healthy, yummy recipes.

Learn more about our 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge HERE.

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