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NHS tips for good mental health over New Year

A child shopping for healthy fruit with his mother

While the festive period over Christmas and New Year can be a fun and exciting time, it can also be particularly stressful and many experience the January blues. NHS specialists at HRCH are here to offer health advice and tips to get you into physical and mental shape for the New Year ahead and to help you achieve those healthy New Year’s resolutions.

 Look after your physical health and get involved in activities

David Ollington, healthy lifestyle development officer at Heart of Hounslow said: “Don’t deny yourself what your body craves. Activity is an innate part of one’s make up. The response to being physically inactive is restless sleep, muscle tension, stress and illness.”

  • ·Vary the activities - swim one day, walk another, cycle at the weekend.
  • ·Take 10 minutes out to stretch in front of the TV or while listening to the radio or music.
  • ·If going to the gym is not appealing, join a class, circuits, Zumba or any of the many classes out there.
  • ·Be active with a friend. Go for a fast walk for 10-20 minutes and repeat during the day. If you don’t feel like being active, think how good you will feel afterwards.

Healthier food alternatives and regular walks 

Dietitian Alex Russell said: “Christmas and New Year can be a busy and sometimes stressful time, and healthy eating can be a challenge! Over the Christmas period we can look for healthier alternatives to help us still enjoy all the festive food.”

  • ·Regular eating can help us to regulate our appetite, and starting the day with a good breakfast is the first step towards this and helps to regulate energy levels and keep us feeling more alert.
  • ·Try things like porridge with fresh or dried fruit, poached eggs on toast or high fibre breakfast cereals to get your day off to the best start.
  • ·Exercise can also help to reduce stress and leave us feeling energised, like a winter walk after your Christmas dinner.

Dry January: Give your liver a New Year’s break 

Jennifer Banks-Smith, Health Promotions Manager said: “Many of us are motivated to improve our health in January after the New Year and Christmas festivities. Cutting out alcohol is a great way to start and a whole month off is a really positive step and means that you are more likely to drink less long term. The Dry January campaign will act as a reset and allow you to assess your drinking habits for the future”

  • ·Alcohol is the leading cause of preventable ill health and death in 15 to 49 year-olds and is a factor in more than 60 medical conditions, including liver disease, a number of cancers and depression.
  • ·Having a break from alcohol can help increase your energy levels, help with weight loss and improve your sleep.
  • ·Last year, 71% of people reported improved energy levels, 70% of people reported weight loss and 63% of people reported better sleep after completing a month off alcohol.
  • ·Two-thirds of participants were successful at going the whole month dry last year.

Find out more about the benefits of Dry January, or sign up at: www.dryjanuary.org.uk/