Our health and wellbeing is important all year round, but is even more essential during the colder winter months.
We know staying well during winter can be overwhelming, especially for those who may be vulnerable or for those caring for others.
We have developed this space to keep everything in one place so you know how to gift yourself and others wellness this winter and beyond.
The NHS is now heading towards an unpredictable winter. With measures in place such as mask wearing and social distancing, flu activity levels were extremely low last year and as a result, a lower level of population immunity against flu is expected this winter. Additionally, this is the first year that flu will co-circulate alongside COVID-19.
Research has shown that you’re more likely to be seriously ill if you get flu and COVID-19 at the same time. For this reason, it is essential that those eligible are protected against both viruses as early as possible. Getting your flu jab and COVID-19 booster vaccine will help prevent you from getting these viruses, they are the best defence we have against them. The vaccines will help keep you safe and if you do catch either virus, it’s likely to be milder and shorter-lived than it would otherwise have been. Boost your immunity this winter and help protect yourself, your family, and patients. Don’t delay, get your free vaccines now.
Get advice if you feel unwell
Making sure you choose the right service is really important, especially during the busier winter months. This will help make sure you are treated as quickly as possible.
Gifting yourself mental wellness this winter
We know this time of year can be especially hard, but please know you are not alone. Please contact 111 first. You can do this by dialling 111 on your phone or online. There is also lots of information about help in a crisis here.
Getting your car prepared for winter
Getting your vehicle ready for winter is a great way to gift yourself wellness! Stay one step ahead of the icy months by checking your car is safe for winter!
- Fuel - it may seem obvious, but always check you have enough fuel before you set off. This will help avoid breakdowns during the colder days and nights.
- Oil - check your oil level on the dipstick and fill up if needed.
- Tyres - check your tyre tread depth and air pressure.
- Coolant - check your coolant levels and fill up if needed.
- Electrics - check your bulbs and lights are working effectively - this is especially important now it gets darker much earlier.
- Screen wash - make sure you top up your screen wash that is effective down to at least minimum 15 degrees Celcius.
It's also a good idea to stay prepared with a basic winter car kit, just in case. Make sure you have these in your car ready to use during the winter months:
- Ice scraper and de-icer
- Jump leads
- Reflective warning triangle – ideally two
- In-car phone charger – and a portable battery charger
Checking in on others
One of the easiest ways to gift wellness this winter, is to check on those who may need it. This is especially important for those who live alone or who may not see others regularly.
Slips, trips and falls
As the days and nights get colder and the paths get icier, slips and trips will become more common. This is especially dangerous for those aged 65+ and those who may be vulnerable. You can gift wellness this winter by checking they have thick soled shoes for when they are heading out (or even putting some outdoor slippers on their Christmas list!)
If they do need to go out in the cold, encourage them to wear shoes with a good grip and a scarf around the mouth to protect them from the cold air, and to reduce their risk of chest infections.
Suicide prevention training
Sadly, the winter months are very challenging for those who may be struggling with their mental health. If you would like to know more about the signs to look out for in others and what to do about them, you can take part in this free suicide prevention training.
Choose the right service
Making sure your loved ones choose the right service is really important, especially during the busier winter months.
It's important to remember that some places will be shut over the bank holidays as we approach the festive season. Be sure to get your prescriptions sorted before then to ensure you don't run out.
Bank holidays over the next few months:
- Monday 27 December
- Tuesday 28 December
- Monday 3 January 2022
Keeping the home ready for winter
It's important to try and keep your home prepared for winter, so you have enough supplies in case you aren't able to get out due to the weather.
Make sure you keep a good stock of food supplies in your cupboard, as well as any medication you may need lto cope with the winter months.
As you spend a lot of time in your home, it's important to keep your home warm (minimum of 18 degrees celsius) to prevent colds, flu and more serious health problems such as heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and depression. Remember to keep your bedroom window closed on winter nights
If someone you know needs urgent medical advice, contact 111 first. You can do this by dialling 111 on your phone or online. Always contact 999 in an emergency. Find out more about help in a crisis here.
Many people in the UK experience lonliness, but this is particularly common during the colder months. Checking in on those in your life is a good way to prevent lonliness. For adults aged 60+, the Age UK Befriending service may be helpful as a way of having more conversations.