The winter months can be a challenging time for us all, and particularly for staff members working in health and social care settings. You may be feeling worried about the approach of winter due to increased stress and pressure at work, or anxious about Covid-19, flu season and the potential of further pandemic restrictions. The Christmas season may also bring up feelings of loneliness and grief. Keeping Well is here to support key workers through the winter months.

Visit our winter wellbeing self-help category 

Look after your physical and mental health

As the temperature drops and the days get shorter, our physical and emotional wellbeing can suffer. It is important to look after yourself at this time of year. Although it can be difficult to maintain an exercise routine when it gets colder, remember that physical exercise helps to boost mood, relieve stress and boost the immune system – all beneficial in the cold and dark. Read our guidance to maintain a healthier lifestyle

The change in weather can negatively affect our mental health. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression which comes and goes in a seasonal pattern, with symptoms most commonly appearing in winter and linked to a lack of sunlight. If you experience SAD there are various things you can do to help ease the symptoms. Find out more in our article on coping with SAD.

The winter months can be an over indulgent season during the Christmas period. Our drug, alcohol and tobacco self-resource section has advice and support links available. Don't forget you can also speak to Stefani, our drug and alcohol practitioner!

Get vaccinated

You will be offered a free vaccine to fight flu. In addition, you can also book to have the Covid-19 vaccine booster (if eligible). It’s important to protect yourself, patients, colleagues, and your loved ones.

However, if you struggle with needle phobia, you might want to avoid getting vaccinated. We offer support to anyone with a needle phobia to make sure you're protected. Needle or medical anxiety is very common, affecting at least one in 10 people, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Managing loneliness and grief during the Christmas season

The Christmas period can be a particularly challenging time for many of us, and may trigger feelings of loneliness and grief rather than joy. The past 18 months have been especially difficult for us all and these negative feelings may be increased at this time of year. You may be reminded of the loss of a loved one, the breakdown of a relationship, or find yourself far away from family and friends. We have produced some advice on coping with grief during the holiday season which may be helpful to read, and if you need someone to talk to Keeping Well is here to support you whatever your needs are. 

You may also be worried about restrictions over winter due to Covid-19, and the loneliness and stress this could entail. Although we don’t know if any restrictions will happen, there are things you can do to help with these worries. There are practical steps you can take to protect yourself and those around you, including by getting your vaccine or booster. 

Talk to us

Keeping Well is here to support key workers in the North West London area. Talk to one of our wellbeing professionals via the website live chat function, phone 0300 123 1705 Monday to Friday 9am-5pm, or email keepingwell.nwl@nhs.net. You can also complete a self-referral form or request a call back.

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