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Health Assured team

07 January 2015

There's no denying it: it's starting to feel a little Wintry! The nights are drawing in, the daylight hours are getting shorter and it is difficult to feel upbeat and it would be easy to feel a little down in the dumps. On Wednesday 10th October it is World Mental Health Day.In recognition of this we thought it would be a good idea to provide some top tips to help you, your friends and family get through the month and beyond!

Changes in mood

If you notice a persistent or significant change in mood, it might be a sign of depression or mental illness. Of course, there may be other factors such as work pressures or relationship worries, but keep an eye on your nearest and dearest for signs of unhappiness, depression or emotional ill-health.

A lack of interest in everyday things

A common sign of depression is a lack of interest and excitement in everyday things, particularly those which the person is typically passionate about. If you recognise this in anyone you're close to, it may be a sign that all is not well.

Withdrawal, silence and solitary behaviour

Classic signals of mental health issues are withdrawal from social situations, unusual quietness and solitary behaviour. Of course, if these things are typical for the person in question and you have no reason to think anything has changed for them, you probably don't need to be worried. But if a typically gregarious, chatty, sociable person suddenly starts cancelling plans and spending time alone, you may have cause for concern.

Cancelling social or leisure plans

If someone you know starts withdrawing from regular social events, cancelling on dates or parties, or wants to spend more time alone than is normal for them, keep a close eye on them.

How to beat the October blues

1. Get outside as much as you can. With shorter hours of daylight, this can be a challenge, but do what you must to get at least some sunlight on your face every day. Walk at lunch time, do some of your commute on foot, or build some time outside into your morning or evening. 2. Spend time outside at weekends. It's really important at this time of year not to spend your entire weekend inside, no matter how bad the weather! Plan a walk with friends, spend some time in the garden, or drive somewhere lovely to explore on foot. A guaranteed mood-booster which will last into the week ahead. 3. Eat healthily. It's so easy at this time of year to turn to warm, stodgy comfort food, but it won't make you feel better. Be sure to stock up on plenty of vegetables, lean protein and fresh, seasonal produce to nourish your body and help your mind, too. 4. Take up new hobbies, sports or studies. What a great time of year to embark on a new challenge. What would you like to do: enroll on a study course, learn a new hobby or take up a new form of exercise? 5. Plan a holiday. If all else fails, planning a break can be a wonderful tonic! We hope these bits of advice will help you, and those you care about, navigate this tricky time of year with a healthy body and mind.

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