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A Parent’s Guide to… surviving Winter 2020

The clocks have turned back, the nights are drawing in and the hunt for Covidresistant woolly face masks is well underway…  

These winter months can be difficult for many of us; one in three people within the UK are said to suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), meaning they find it more difficult to find positives in their everyday lives during the cold and dark winter months. And this year, to top it all off, we have the added challenge of living through a global pandemic!

It’s safe to say that winter 2020 will be no walk in the park (are we even still allowed to walk in parks!?) but there are plenty of measures we can put in place for our families to boost our health and happiness.  

Follow our top tips for beating the winter blues!  

Keep on moving!

It’s common for activity levels to drop as the temperatures head in the same directionIn addition to this seasonal effect, many clubs and gyms have also had to close due to the November lockdown, making it increasingly difficult to keep active.  
Creating a weekly activity routine is a great way to ensure you enter 2021 feeling positive and healthyPlan different home workouts throughout the week (There’s great circuit and yoga videos for free on YouTube!) and there are also some great apps to try out together as a family, including Zombies Run, StreetTag and GeoCatchingHave fun! 

Edible sunshine!

With reduced exposure to sunlight, our bodies aren’t getting the Vitamin D it provides us with. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to bone deformities and weakness.  

Fortunately, there is ways to boost our Vitamin D by taking in certain foods, such as oily fish, including salmon, mackerel and sardines, as well as red meat and eggs. You could also investigate the nutritional information on the back of your breakfast cereals, fat spreads and non-dairy milk spread packets, as many are supplemented with Vitamin D! Yay! 

Alternative comfort foods

When the evenings are dark, cold and wet, and we find ourselves spending more time sat on the sofa, there is always the calling from the kitchen, specifically from those high fat, high sugar, high salt foods often known as comfort foods. Thinking on ways to avoid such foods is tricky, but replacing them with equally comforting but healthier options can reduce the impact they have on our health during winter. Here are some healthy alternative recipes to the usual comfort foods Banana BiscuitsBlueberry Breakfast Bars, Banana Pancakes and Butternut Squash Mac ‘n’ Cheese OR experiment as a family by creating your own perfect soup recipe over the winter (and share it with us!) 

Creature comforts

Not all comforts need to be food related, treat yourself to a new hot water bottle, special winter PJs, a movie night or some family board games.  

Know your triggers

Seasonal Affective Disorder, triggered by the cold and dark, can lead to low energy levels, low self-esteem and anxiety, and often results in emotional eating. Being aware of what triggers our emotional eating is a valuable skill and planning how to combat these triggers is time well spent. Putting together a list of ideas to use when these moments present themselves can help us avoid them. These may include scheduling a call in with a friend, going for a windy walk or taking a warm bath, instead of reaching for the biscuits! 

We may be finding it difficult to keep our healthy routines going as the Covid-19 pandemic looks more and more likely to last into 2021, so it’s now more important than ever that we put plans in place to keep us on track, to keep positive and to stay healthy as we enter 2021. 

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