Try one of these activities if the combination of lockdown and cold weather has you feeling down. We promise they’ll make you feel better than another Netflix binge…
Finding things to do on evenings and weekends is easy when the weather is warm.
Come 6PM, you can be found sipping rosé from sun–filled gardens, and weekends are filled with park meet ups, beach trips and sometimes simply lying down in the heat, being very busy enjoying doing not much.
It’s not quite the same in winter.
When the weather and darkness rolls in, turning to the TV feels like the only way to fill time.
In fact, the winter can effect our mood and motivation a lot, and with this year’s lockdown rumbling on, people are left feeling more flat than ever.
While you might not be feeling up for doing something fun, that could be where you’re going wrong.
There’s evidence that certain hobbies can boost our mood, which won’t only get you away from the ‘Play next episode’ button but also make you feel happier and more relaxed.
Here are five mood-boosting activities to give a try this winter…
Being creative can be a great mood booster.
So much so, that art therapy has become a popular prescription for those struggling with their mental health.
A review from Harvard School of Public Health concluded that ‘creative engagement can decrease anxiety, stress, and mood disturbances’.
Not only does painting allow you to express your feelings on the page for a cathartic release, but being absorbed in the art can stop overthinking and help you switch off.
If picking up a blank canvas feels daunting, you can start with a paint by numbers.
Craft store Typo sells some beautiful prints, like this floral design, that you can hang proudly when you’ve finished.
The duvet might feel more appealing than the great outdoors when winter rolls around, but getting outside can do wonders for your mood.
According to the Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute in Japan, simply being outside can reduce our stress hormone cortisol by as much as 15%.
Meanwhile, exercising in natural environments is associated with greater feelings of revitalisation, according to research published in Environment, Science and Technology.
Try wearing the Honor GS Pro watch while you head out to keep you motivated, which is complete with a GPS tracker and Route Back feature to find your way home, even when taking the road less travelled.
If you’re simply heading out for a stroll to reap the benefits on your brain and body, the GS Pro’s holistic overview of everything from step count to heart rate will be a great motivator to get you out the door.
Plus, it’s also kitted out with lifestyle features like text and call notifications as well as a sleep tracker, so you can see if your long strolls are helping with your shut-eye.
Journaling has become a popular mental health tool recently, with studies showing that it’s effective at reducing mental distress.
Picking up a diary to write your thoughts and feelings for the day can be uplifting, but if you don’t know where to start, try answering these prompts that will get you thinking of the positives:
- What’s one thing someone helped you with this week?
- What habit are you grateful for sticking with?
- Who would you like to say ‘thank you’ to, and why?
And writing doesn’t have to be all about you: getting creative by writing short stories or poems has also been shown to be therapeutic, allowing you to deal with negative emotions and support a more positive mood.
If you still very much want to stay indoors then there’s no better hobby than yoga, with a 2018 study finding that the practice has an effective role in reducing stress, anxiety, and depression.
The combination of brain boosting movement and meditative breathwork makes it the perfect cocktail of relaxation, so roll your yoga mat this winter and feel the mood lifting effects.
If you want even more proof of the mental health impact of your practice, use the Honor ES watch, loaded with a stress monitor, to track your stretch.
And, if you don’t know where to start, let the watch guide you with animated virtual coaching to take you through breathing exercises step-by-step.
There’s a reason that everyone turned to sourdough during lockdown.
Cooking and baking have been shown to have a positive impact on self-esteem, psychological well-being and quality of life, as well as decreased anxiety, according to a 2018 review.
Not only is that because home-cooked meals can be full of nutritious ingredients that support our brain, but also because nailing the spices in a curry or getting a perfect rise on a soufflé gives us a buzz.
We recommend trying out a recipe kit from one of your favourite restaurants.