Taking steps to keep yourself well this winterWinter wellbeing
20 November 2023
As the winter season approaches, it brings with it not only chilly temperatures but also the feeling of being run down or even unwell for many. This time of year can be busy and full of distractions that make it easy to put looking after yourself on the back burner, however staying well during the winter is essential to enjoy the season to the fullest.
Despite daily distractions, there are some simple steps we can all take to help keep ourselves and those around us stay winter well. To help with this, together with public health colleagues we have pulled together lots of tips and information together into one place to give you lots of ideas you can do over the next few months.
You can find all the information you need on our winter well page from eating well, stay active to opportunities to meet new people, start a new hobby or access financial support if you are struggling. We really hope that you share these with colleagues, friends and relatives to help encourage those around you to stay winter well both physically, mentally and financially.
In this article, we'll explore some ways you can stay healthy, happy, and active throughout the colder months.
The rising cost of living is challenging for us all, however help is available to vulnerable and low-income households through the Government’s Household Support Fund, and our Council is working with a range of partners to distribute this money to those who need it most.
The package of support on offer this winter allows people earning £400 a week or less to apply for a £300 payment, and more information can be found on our Cost of Living Support page.
Social relationships are an important part of supporting our wellbeing, so spending time each day to develop and nurture relationships can be very beneficial. Our Council works with partners to offer a number of Welcoming Spaces across West Northamptonshire, providing the perfect opportunity to meet new people or catch up with friends over a hot drink and a biscuit. Find your nearest on our Cost of Living Support page.
Keep bugs at bay
If you are eligible for a free COVID-19 vaccine and flu jab, it’s vital you come forward to top up your protection. The vaccines can be administered together in one appointment at dozens of pharmacies and GP practices across Northamptonshire, and can be booked online on the NHS website or by calling 119.
Look after your mental wellbeing
Looking after your mental health and wellbeing is just as important as looking after your physical health. There are several steps we can take that are proven to support our mental health and wellbeing and help us to keep mentally well. The Action for Happiness charity has set out 10 Keys that tend to make life happier and more fulfilling. View them and find out more on the Action for Happiness website.
Enjoy some exercise
As little as 30 minutes of movement each day can do wonders for your mind and body. Leisure Centres across West Northamptonshire offer a range of exercise classes and other opportunities to keep fit and active, but our many parks and open spaces also offer opportunities to get out in the fresh air and enjoy nature. Find out more on our Sport and Leisure page.
Look out for others
The winter period can be difficult for a great many people, and helping those who are vulnerable or in need can be a rewarding way to spend your time. It could be a simple call or check-in with a vulnerable neighbour or relative, but there are also winter campaigns to get involved in. WNC’s annual Comfort and Joy campaign seeks donations for vulnerable families staying in refuges as a result of domestic abuse at Christmas. Our library service also works with the Northampton Hope Centre on the Fill the Box campaign to provide food donations. Look out for donation boxes at your local library.
Wash your hands and catch your sneezes
It may sound simple, but washing your hands several times a day for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water can help prevent you from getting sick and spreading bugs further. Got the sneezes? Be sure to catch them in a tissue, bin it and kill the germs.
Keep warm for less Cold weather can have a serious impact on health, and it is important to keep warm. Try to maintain a room temperature of 18°C, ensure windows are closed during cold nights, have your heating system checked to make sure it is safe to use, and wear lots of layers of thin clothes to help stay warm. Tips for improving the energy efficiency of your home can be found on the Government website.
Get help with money worries
Money worries can have a significant impact on your wellbeing, but there is help available. The Community Law Service has a team of specialist debt advice caseworkers who can provide a full range of debt counselling, including liaising with creditors and advising on insolvency. The service is free, independent and confidential. They offer drop-in services our One Stop Shop at The Guildhall, as well as at The Forum in Towcester, or you can call 01604 621038 or visit the Community Law Service website.
Food larders offer a great way to buy groceries at heavily discounted rates for a small annual membership cost. A list of providers can be found on the Good Food West Northants website.