Self-care is essential to beat winter blues, say mental health experts

Seasonal park scene

Self-care can be taking walks in nature to boost your mental health. - Credit: Clare Butler

Protecting your mental health is just as important as going for a health scan or remembering to take your daily vitamins – yet it is often dismissed, says reporter Clare Butler.  

The way our brain works to interpret trauma, pain and grief can bring about huge emotional turmoil.  

From a young age we are taught how to brush our teeth or stick a plaster over a graze; but do we know how to check in with ourselves to ensure that we’re feeling ok? (And that it’s ok – and really important – that we do that).   

Psychotherapy and counselling training centre TACTA, based in the Stourbridge, in the West Midlands, shared their tips on how to manage wellbeing following a roller-coaster of a year.  

“This winter we have the added anxiety of a worldwide pandemic and local and national restrictions, so here at TACTA we are looking at self-care and its importance,” explained training directors Julia Tolley and Rachel Curtis.  


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“Firstly, find a form of exercise that you enjoy. This will help you to be more consistent in making time for it in your life.   

“Try to avoid any news that can make you feel overwhelmed and can induce anxiety. Choose a source you feel comfortable with and limit your exposure.   

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“Find ways to connect through phone, social media or letters. Alcohol Studies showed that nearly 33 per cent of the UK public were drinking more than usual during the pandemic.   

“Alcohol is a depressant and so if you are feeling anxious, low in mood or having negative thoughts it is likely to increase these symptoms.  

“Grab a journal and a pen and start to write any thoughts and feelings down, as this can be an effective way of managing anxiety.   

“Remember we are not our thoughts! Writing is also a way of self-soothing and gaining clarity, especially when we feel overwhelmed.”  

TACTA offer a four-year training programme and run several workshops to help people gain an insight caring for their mental health.  

They work in transactional analysis, integrative psychotherapy, counselling training, professional development and supervision.  

For more information visit: https://tacta.co.uk/ 

Mental health crisis helplines 

If you're in crisis and need to talk right now, there are many helplines staffed by trained people ready to listen.  

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