At this time of year, it is very common to hear students, staff and parents expressing how tired they feel. It seems that as we approach the winter solstice, the lack of daylight hours seems to coincide with a struggle to recharge our batteries. It is vital that we are able to keep our own cup full, especially when we regularly have to support others. This is often easier said than done so in this e-News article, I have decided to share five tips for increasing our own wellbeing, in order to ensure we are able to stay positive and productive during these cold, wet, wintery days!
- Embrace natural light: During these shorter daylight hours, try and maximise your opportunity to spend time in the sunlight during the day. It might mean having an outdoor walking meeting, sitting in a sunny spot for lunch, or just trying to break up your day by popping outside regularly. Natural light helps to boost Vitamin D production and promotes a sense of wellbeing.
- Stay physically active: Regular exercise is vital to maintaining energy levels and increasing your mood. Winter-friendly activities could include indoor options like pilates, going to the gym or a recreation centre, or finding an indoor heated pool for a swim! If you are keen to brave the outdoors, we are so lucky to have some of the world’s best bush trails to hike and explore within a very short distance of Rockingham. Exercise increases endorphins which in turn relieve stress, reduce pain and improve our mood.
- Prioritise nutrition: I like a KFC Zinger burger as much as the next person and in winter, it is common to crave these comfort foods. Bringing more citrus fruits, winter greens and root vegetables into our diet will help to nourish our bodies with the vitamins and minerals needed to boost our energy levels. Ensuring that you drink enough water daily is also a vital step to ensuring our health and wellbeing is maintained.
- Make your home a cosy and warm environment: As Darryl Kerrigan said, ‘A man’s home is his castle’, so trying to make our living environment a haven for comfort is essential for our wellbeing. Creating cosy spaces in our house could include using soft lighting, warm blankets, or even scented candles or incense, which can transport us to a place of tranquillity. These adjustments do not have to be expensive, and when combined with spending time doing the things we love at home – listening to music, reading a book, practising a hobby – we can significantly shift our mood and give ourselves a much needed opportunity to recharge.
- Practice self-care and relaxation: Winter is a perfect time to experiment with activities that focus on our self-care. Taking a short period of time each day to engage with things that reduce stress and allow us to relax – such as taking a warm bath, practising mindfulness (there are plenty of free apps or podcasts that can assist with this), meditating, journaling and especially praying – can allow us to develop a greater sense of wellbeing. The importance of getting enough sleep and trying to develop a regular sleeping pattern can not be overstated either. This is when our body gets its best recharge!
In a world where we often have to constantly give of ourselves to others, it is important that we take time to look after ourselves. As Greek physician, Herophilus said, ‘When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot manifest, strength cannot fight, wealth becomes useless, and intelligence cannot be applied.’