The importance of staying healthy through winter

In this article, we look at self-care and care for others during the winter months.  We’re all aware of the extra challenges that this time of year brings - both in terms of health and the cost of living. There are more viruses around during winter so it's important to keep up to date with flu and covid jabs. With sustained levels of inflation and soaring costs, staying warm and heating our homes can also be a challenge.

Many local communities have measures in place to protect the most vulnerable against cold poverty. There are now a number of food banks and warm banks set up across Cumbria to help those affected. Your local council will have a full list.

During the coming months, there will be a combination of factors that could affect people's physical, emotional and social health, and we would advise those with elderly or more vulnerable loved ones, friends or relatives to make extra considerations.

Increased levels of loneliness is one of the key challenges that many of us (but particularly, the older population) will likely face during winter. As the daylight hours decrease and the weather turns colder, the opportunities to get outside diminish, meaning many older people will not leave their homes at all. Provisions should be put in place to ensure that those individuals stay connected with others on a regular basis, even if just for a chat over a cup of tea, or to deliver some shopping. If distance is prohibitive, a regular telephone call can be just a beneficial.

It's probably fair to say that we'll all need to find ways to beat the winter blues and stay healthy. We've compiled a little list of our tips and suggestions here at Heydays Care & Support, which we hope you’ll find of use:

  • Keep mobile and active, whether it's a quick walk down the street, a dance to your favourite song in the kitchen or perhaps try some new exercise routines at home
  • Try to maintain a good, balanced diet with at least one warm meal a day, ensuring that you get your ‘5 a day’ to provide you with the necessary nutrition that your body needs
  • Keeping to your usual weekly routine as much as possible and getting a good amount of sleep each night is great for our mental wellbeing
  • Challenge your mind by reading or doing jigsaws, crosswords or puzzles
  • Keep yourself busy with things that you enjoy, whether its a hobby or maybe even learn a new skill
  • Reach out if you yourself are struggling, or to others who may be isolated in any way you can - a phone call, a letter or even arranging to meet for a walk.

Really what we all need to do is to look out for others, who may need a bit of support. It could be as simple as taking a slice of cake to a neighbour, picking up shopping for an older relative or sending a card to a friend.

If you or a loved one are looking for some extra support at this time, feel free to chat to a member of our friendly team at Heydays Care & Support on 015395 52548 or 01229 808023

More information can also be found on the Cumbria County Council website and on the AGE UK website