Winter can be a tough season but there are ways to beat the blues.
Our city in the countryside offers beautiful walks to blow away the cobwebs, and businesses that offer mood boosting wellbeing services.
James Barnett is a local business owner and Salisbury BID director. As well as having over 10 years’ experience as sports massage therapist and movement coach he also runs The Therapy Centre - a successful multidisciplinary complementary therapy centre in the heart of Salisbury.
Here, James offers his top 5 tips to beat the winter blues:
Let’s get this one out of the gate first, as it is a particular pet hate of mine.
New year’s resolutions can be and often will be a terrible idea. It is the middle of winter, it’s dark, it’s cold, it’s generally miserable. You’ve just come off the holiday high of Christmas and all its indulgences, but now for some reason that nobody really knows, it’s time to set some improbable goals. Goals that you will more than likely fail in completing.
Honestly, who on earth decided that was a good idea. How about this for an alternative?
Be kind to yourself.... all year....
Yes, January is a time for a little self-reflection and to cut back on the excesses of Christmas, but let’s take some small steps first to help build some momentum. Rather than going cold turkey and cutting out booze, sugar, and caffeine all in one go, how about saying I’m going to cut my consumption of these by ‘x’ percent (and choose a figure you think is manageable)?
Then, if that works and you’re feeling better about yourself, decrease it some more in February and so on and so forth. Until you reach that desired level you initially thought about back in the dark, dreary, cold, depths of winter.
Don’t worry if you fail occasionally and have a few days where it all goes out the window. Dust yourself off and keep on going. As long as you’re moving forwards, you’re still moving, even if it is not as fast as you’d like.
I appreciate over the last two years this has been easier said than done, but up until Covid struck a good friend (who I don’t see very often) and I would always put a weekend in the diary for early February. The reason? Because this time of year is generally miserable and it’s nice to have something to look forward to.
It doesn’t have to be fancy, all we do is pick a mutually convenient town and book an Airbnb. Meet on a Friday for drinks and a meal, chat, catch up, put the world to rights. The next day it’ll be breakfast followed by watching the Six Nations on TV. Follow with some more food, more chatting and then back home on Sunday morning.
Oh, the sweet irony of it - as I’m sure some of you will be reading this having clicked on a social media post -but if you haven’t realised already, social media can make you miserable.
That said, if you must be on social media, be nice, or be silent. It’s much better for everyone that way.
Try it. Do something that isn’t about you. Find the joy in helping someone. It doesn’t have to be a huge gesture; a simple act of kindness will give you both a hit of endorphins. That’s where the feel-good factor is, not on your smartphone screen.
Again, Covid has put this one on the back burner for the last couple of winters. However, on the rare occasions where it’s bright, crisp, and dry, wrap up warm and go for a walk in the countryside (with friends if possible). Preferably punctuate that walk by stopping at a convenient place that serves hot drinks and has an open fire. Drink, chat and mop up the warmth, before heading back outside.
The upside of being outdoors is that sunlight helps the body produce vitamin D, which can help increase energy levels. Being outside in nature also improves mood, so it’s a win-win.
Need more advice and help? The Therapy Centre is the ideal place to continue your wellbeing journey through 2022. The facility, in the heart of Salisbury, offers a range of complementary therapies focusing on muscle and joint pain, injury rehabilitation, relaxation and wellbeing.
Massage, acupuncture, movement coaching, reiki and reflexology are just some of what’s available. You can find full details on The Therapy Centre website.