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Tips to stay sane this winter

In line with the Governments recent ‘wellbeing’ budget, this BLog is written in the hope that you might find some buried gem to help you stay well this winter.

Firstly though, I would like to acknowledge that mental health concerns feel like they are at epidemic proportions. An estimated 25 per cent of the New Zealand workforce has been diagnosed with a mental health condition. Furthermore, last year the Government’s Mental Health and Addiction inquiry found one-in-five New Zealanders experienced mental illness or significant mental distress in their lifetime.

Here are a few ideas that we can all do this winter to try and help us feel better:

1. Do some exercise

Easier said than done I agree (I know that I am personally struggling with this one at the moment – so hard to get out of bed on these cold dark mornings!). But I think just doing something is going to be better than nothing. Walk around the block, take the dog for a quick walk, try to do 20 sit ups and 20 press ups on the lounge floor – just incorporate some exercise into your day (exercise promotes the release of endorphins and chemicals that enhance your sense of well-being).

2. Face your difficulties

Try and sit somewhere quiet for half an hour and reflect on why you might be feeling down. Try writing down what’s bothering you and then think of an action plan for each item you’ve written down.

Personally, I find just ‘writing the list’ helps me to put things in perspective.

3. Get creative with some indoor activities

If its cold and miserable outside, try to have a bit of fun inside – if you have a family, play some board games, have a card night, movie night or do some crafts. If no one else is around, try reading, writing in a journal, organising your photos, or phoning and reconnecting with a friend or family member. Try going somewhere different in the weekends, for example, go to the museum, the movies or the Botanic Gardens.

4. Enjoy the daylight whenever you can

Try and get outside whenever possible – particularly if the sun is shining. I had a couple of clients last winter that were diagnosed with SAD (Seasonal Affected Disorder) and they said that time out in the daylight really did make a positive difference to their mood.

5. Be kind to your family, your partner and yourself and reach out for help

Just remember, you’re not alone. Emotional stress, depression and anxiety affects many people – try talking about how you are feeling. Isolating yourself might feel like the safest option but try to resist the urge to shut out people that could offer you support and encouragement.

If you don’t feel that you can talk to your family, try getting in contact with a health professional or one of the many phone lines that have been set up to help:

Lifeline 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)

Youthline 0800 376 633

Depression helpline 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)

The team at Business Like NZ understand that being a small business owner can feel quite isolated and lonely at times – but please remember, you are not alone and we are only a phone call away. If you need some extra support with your business let us know and we will do our very best to help wherever possible.

On that note, I would like to do a final shout out to Craig Hudson and the team at Xero for recently introducing a new pilot programme focusing on mental health support for Kiwi businesses – well done team!

Rachel Darlington