Winter ready: be healthy

Find out how to take care of your physical and mental health and wellbeing during the winter months.

Mental health and wellbeing

Grow an indoor plant

It's important to consider mental health in winter, since the days are shorter and there is less natural daylight.

Bringing a little bit of green into your home over winter can help lighten your mood and keep you happier over winter.

christmas walk in the woodsGo for a health walk

You can get active to help beat seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Thirty minutes of vigorous exercise, three times a week, is effective against depression.

Visit the OneLife Suffolk website for local information about health walks in Suffolk.

Keep in touch with friends and relatives

Socialising is good for your mental health and helps ward off the winter blues.

Make an effort to keep in touch with people you care about and accept any invitations you get to social events, even if you only go for a little while.

Check up on vulnerable or elderly neighbours

Check up on older neighbours and relatives, and those with heart or respiratory (breathing) problems, to make sure they:

  • are safe and well
  • are warm enough, especially at night
  • have stocks of food and medicines, so they don't need to go out during very cold weather

carer supporting older personTake care of people with dementia and their carers over Christmas

Christmas can be a challenging time for people affected by dementia, as the breaking of routines can be confusing or distressing.

There can be pressure to have a wonderful time, which can cause guilt and sadness for carers.

Alzheimer's Society gives advice on the four challenges people affected by dementia face at Christmas (and how to overcome them).

Physical health

Get a flu jab

Getting a flu jab benefits more than just you. You should still protect yourself, and others, even if you're a healthy adult. The NHS has more information about flu jabs.

Read Councillor James Reeder's article on staying healthy this winter: This winter give yourself and others the gift of good health

hand washingWash your hands to protect yourself from illness

Washing your hands is one of the easiest ways to protect yourself and others from illnesses such as food poisoning and flu.

Washing your hands properly should take about as long as singing "Happy Birthday" twice (around 20 seconds). Use the steps from the World Health Organization while you hum.

Washing your hands properly removes dirt, viruses and bacteria to stop them spreading to other people and objects, which can spread illnesses such as food poisoningflu or diarrhoea.

Children are particularly at risk of picking up infections and spreading them to other people.

It's especially important to make sure that hands are washed when you're visiting someone in hospital or other healthcare setting, to help prevent the spread of infection. The NHS has more information on how to wash your hands.

vitamin d foodIncrease your vitamin D over winter

Between October and early March, we often don't get enough vitamin D from sunlight.

You can increase your vitamin D with dietary supplements, or by eating:

  • oily fish (such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel)
  • red meat
  • liver
  • egg yolks
  • fortified foods (including most fat spreads and some breakfast cereals)

group with wine glassesMake small changes to your drinking

Make sure your Christmas isn't too merry - more than one million people are admitted to hospital every year with alcohol-related problems.

This party season, find out how making small changes to your drinking can make a big difference, not only to your health but to your bank balance.

Warm Homes Healthy People logoStay warm, stay healthy

Suffolk's Warm Homes Healthy People is a project designed to help vulnerable people and families make their homes cheaper to heat.

Find out more about the Warm Homes Healthy People project.