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Winter Wellbeing

Winter is upon us with shorter days and colder weather and it also brings with it the common bugs and illnesses that we see more of during this time of year.

That’s why we have created our Winter Wellbeing page which brings together local advice, top tips and guidance so you have all the information you need, in one place, to stay safe and healthy over this winter period.

On this page you will find lots of information on looking after yourself and those around you this winter period - from eating and sleeping well to hand hygiene, keeping the bugs at bay and reducing falls.

We also know it is a time to reflect on the year we have had with many of us making goals or setting achievements for the New Year - whether it be to stop smoking, move more or improve your mental wellbeing.

So look through our advice and top tips below and, where needed, reach out to our services to find out more or sign up for the support on offer.

Looking after your mental health and wellbeing is just as important as looking after your physical health. How are you looking after yours and what are you doing to make sure your mental wellbeing remains a priority?

There are several actions we can take that are proven to support our mental health and wellbeing and help us to keep mentally well - the 10 Keys to Happier Living explain these well. 

To help with this, we have included lots of information, tips and advice. As well as this, we have also included a list of services, courses and/or programmes which are free for you to access in Northamptonshire.

Get close to nature

Being outside in the fresh air and close to nature has many proven benefits to your mental wellbeing - it can help lift your mood, reduce stress and boost your senses. Have a look at the many beautiful parks in West Northamptonshire: Parks and open spaces.

Learn something new!

Are you looking to grow your skills, knowledge or learn something new? This is great for your mind as it can help you stay engaged and feel accomplished when you have achieved it. Our Adult Learning courses have a lot of exciting and new courses starting from January 2023 to March 2023. The courses are face-to-face as well as online opportunities available too. We have lots of courses from archaeology, cookery, crafts, fitness, languages, photography plus lots more. View the list of courses.

Keep moving! 15 free or low-cost ways to be active in Northamptonshire

Moving more throughout the day directly impacts on your mood – whether it be, dancing, walking, or standing more regularly, it all makes a difference! If you are looking for some active inspiration and new ideas, check out Northamptonshire Sports' 15 free or low-cost ways to be active... why not set yourself a new year goal to work towards? 

Services/offers of support available

If you are feeling very low and need to speak to someone or get access to support for your mental health, you can call our local mental health navigators on 0800 448 0828 (24 hours a day, seven days a week). 
For a list of support available in West Northamptonshire see our Mental health and wellbeing pages.

Recovery College offers a range of different courses to help support yourself and others to understand health conditions and help with recovery. Hope, control and opportunity are what we strive for and help our students to achieve.

NHFT Talking therapies can help individuals to identify, understand and manage their problems or difficulties. The talking therapies support options include face-to-face therapies, telephone and video calls, webinars and our online tools, which you can use wherever and whenever works best for you

If you are feeling unwell or are worried about someone, the following page has advice and contact details that have been designed to help you decide what to do now: I need urgent help.

Emotional wellbeing and mental health for children and young  people up to the age of 18 – if you are a child or young person and are experiencing difficulties with your emotional wellbeing and mental health difficulties, or know someone who is, please visit Children and young people's mental health services in Northamptonshire.

You can help to keep common bugs at bay this winter by following these simple steps: 

  • Wash your hands - it sounds simple, but it really does make a big difference! 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.
  • Catch your sneeze! - catch it in a tissue, bin it and kill the germs.
  • If you feel unwell - try to stay at home and avoid contact with others.
  • Don’t miss out on important vaccination invitations - viruses spread more in the winter and vaccines can really help with staying protected. Find out more about vaccinations and immunisation
  • For information on common winter illnesses see

Don’t miss out on important vaccination invitations!

Having your vaccinations is a step not to be missed to help protect yourself and those around you.

Free flu vaccinations - for pregnant women

The immune system naturally weakens during pregnancy, putting pregnant women at a higher risk of more severe flu symptoms and further complications such as pneumonia. With flu already starting to circulate in Northamptonshire and people mixing more than they have been in recent years, it is vitally important that pregnant women get vaccinated. If you have not yet had your flu vaccine and are pregnant, please contact your midwife or GP.

Free flu vaccinations - for 2- to 3-year-olds

We are urging all parents and guardians of two- and three-year-olds to get them vaccinated against the flu via a quick flu nasal spray vaccination! This vaccination can stop them from catching the virus as small children are highly susceptible. If you have not received an invitation for your child to receive the flu vaccine, speak to your GP practice to book an appointment.

Free flu vaccinations - health and social care colleagues

All frontline health and social care colleagues are eligible to receive a free flu vaccine to help keep themselves and those they care for safe this winter. You can get this via your internal workplace vaccination offer, or if chosen to get it externally, please let them know you work in health and social care.

Those who are not eligible for a free vaccine can still get a jab from local pharmacies at a reasonable cost. Check if you are eligible for the Flu vaccine.

COVID-19 vaccination

For information on getting your covid-19 vaccination and boosters, please visit How to get a booster dose of the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine.

These are our top tips that you can do at home, to keep yourself well this winter. 

  1. Stay hydrated - drinking little and often can help to keep you hydrated throughout the day. Water is the best option, but milk, tea, coffee, fresh juice, smoothies and sugar-free drinks all count too
  2. Eat well - eating a wide variety of foods means you are more likely to have all the essential nutrients your body needs to function at its best. Check out our advice on how to make food go further!
  3. Get moving every day - just 30 minutes a day is great for your mind and body! Whether a walk outside, strength exercises or a ‘get up and go class’. There are lots of options to keep you active every day. Have a look at Northamptonshire Sport to see the activities available.
  4. Enjoy nature – being outside in the fresh air and around nature is proven to have a positive impact on your mental wellbeing – just remember to wrap up warm!
  5. Keep your medicines stocked up! – visit your local pharmacy or supermarket to buy remedies for minor illnesses, often at little cost
  6. Be kind and look out for each other – it may be you have an elderly neighbour or relative that is on their own or know of someone in your neighbourhood that is struggling whether it be financially, mentally or in simple everyday tasks like getting to the supermarket. A simple call or check-in can make all the difference
  7. Wash your hands and catch your sneezes - it sounds simple, but it really does make a big difference! 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. Catch your sneeze! – catch it in a tissue, bin it and kill the germs
  8. Stay connected - Social relationships are an important part of supporting our wellbeing. Spend time each day developing and nurturing relationships with friends, families, neighbours and colleagues. Try to make a connection each day. Age UK Northamptonshire have a Telephone Befriending Service available or check out Northampton Linking Lives to see the support they have on offer
  9. Take notice - Being aware of what is taking place in the present, the world around you and your own thoughts and feeling - being mindful - can help you to positively change how you feel about life
  10. Keep warm - cold weather can have a serious impact on health, and it is important to keep warm. If you can, try and have a room temperature of 18°C, particularly if you have reduced mobility, are 65 and over, or have a health condition such as heart or lung disease. Ensure windows are closed during cold nights, have your heating system checked to make sure they are safe to use and working and finally wear lots of layers of thin clothes.
  11. Safely enjoying festivities - keeping bugs at bay this festive period is important and there are a few things you can do to help achieve this! Keep balanced ventilation within your home, be careful when storing and handling food to prevent contamination and remember good hygiene when greeting others.

Stop smoking service

Our stop smoking service is on hand to help you quit smoking this New Year, helping you achieve a healthier 2023!

With support, you are three times more likely to quit smoking for good and the West Northamptonshire Stop Smoking Service is here to help you achieve just that. Offering a 12-week programme of telephone support, as well as e-cigarettes, a 12-week supply of e-liquid and nicotine replacement therapy sent straight to your door at no cost to you helping to meet your New Year stop smoking resolution! 

“I think this service is great only found out by accident. So grateful, wanted to give up for years but found it so very hard. Hope this service continues to help others. I’ve started telling friends about you. Thank you and thank you to my lovely lady Joanna!”Sue, Daventry

The health benefits of quitting smoking are well known, however, an often-overlooked benefit is the positive impact it can have financially. The average cost of a pack of premium cigarettes now totals £12.71 and smokers in Northamptonshire spend on average £1,945 per year on the habit. The increase in the cost of living has made many of us reflect on what we spend our money on, and try to determine what we can, or cannot, live without. For smokers, starting the New Year with a goal to stop smoking could ease some of the financial pressure too.

So start your New Year smoke-free with the help of our stop smoking service and get in touch today to find the right tools and support for you. Call us on 0300 126 7000, email: [email protected] or visit stop smoking.

Weight management service

Our weight management service offers a free 12-week course to help you meet your goal by providing a variety of options to best suit your needs and what you are looking to achieve, including Slimming World, Northampton Town Football Club or a digital service delivered by Solutions for Health.

Whatever option you choose will be funded for a 12-week period by the West Northamptonshire Council Public Health Team. You can refer yourself into the service directly and is available to those who are over the age of 18 years old, living in Northamptonshire and have a BMI of 28 or over. 

With the support of the service and the funding it offers, it has helped many people achieve a healthy weight and has been life changing for them. 

For more information, eligibility criteria or to get in touch please email [email protected] or visit Weight management.

  1. Variety is key!
    Eating a wide variety of foods means you are more likely to be consuming all the essential nutrients your body needs to function at its best. Try to include different foods from each food group in your meals and snacks. This includes fruits and vegetables, starchy carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats.
  2. Try to cook more meals at home
    Preparing and cooking your own means you can control what goes into your meals and it's often much cheaper. Many key ingredients such as pasta, noodles, vegetables and sauces can be stored in the cupboards or freezer to reduce food waste and help them last longer.
  3. Use vegetables and pulses to bulk out meals
    A good way of making meals go further is to use vegetables or pulses to bulk out meals such as adding mushrooms, beans or lentils in dishes, such as a chilli or spaghetti bolognaise. These don't always have to be fresh. Tinned and frozen are great options too!
  4. Love leftovers!
    Leftovers are a great way to have ready-prepared meals for another day. You can store them in the fridge overnight and have them for lunch the next day or freeze them until you need a quick prep dinner after a busy day. Using leftovers can not only save time but money and food waste too.
  5. Try to eat regular meals
    Eating regular meals helps to maintain your energy levels throughout that day. Planning lunches and preparing snacks is a good way to make sure that when hunger strikes you have something ready to hand. MIND have some great tips on food and mood.
  6. Stay hydrated
    Drinking little and often can help to keep you hydrated throughout the day. Water is the best option but milk, tea, coffee, fresh juice, smoothies and sugar-free drinks all count too. Just be aware of the caffeine content in tea and coffee. Also, when drinking smoothies or fresh juices it's recommended to keep serving sizes to 150ml as they can be high in sugar.
  7. Try simple food swaps
    Eating well can start with small changes - why not swap sugar on your breakfast for dried fruit, or swap white bread for wholemeal? Find food swaps for kids.
  8. Healthy weight
    If you're struggling to achieve a healthy weight and have a BMI of over 28, our Public Health weight management service will fund a 12-week course to support you to reach your weight-loss goals. Find out more at Weight management email [email protected].

It is important you, your families and those you care for have the resources needed to live well. For many, the rising cost of living is making this difficult and is causing uncertainty, worry and concern. With lots of information in the media, we understand it can be hard to find out about support that is available to you. 

To help with this, we have pulled together lots of information on accessing warm spaces, grants, debt advice, receiving money you’re entitled to, government support funds, help for your wellbeing and so much more. For more information see Cost of living support.

Supporting independence service

The service is for those over the age of 18, to provide support to help manage their health and wellbeing needs. The service is subject to eligibility criteria, and offers the following:

  • 'Walk and Talk' sessions with an advisor with the aim of becoming more active and increasing socialisation
  • Support to access social opportunities within local communities to reduce isolation
  • Support and referrals as appropriate to support daily life including housing support and money advice
  • Identification, intervention and support for low-level mental health and emotional difficulties
  • Advice, information, and support on lifestyle issues such as nutrition, smoking and alcohol use

For more information about the service please visit the Supporting Independence Service or call 0300 126 7000.