We’re running a new Winter Sparkles campaign aimed at helping people who use our services, as well as the wider public, through the first few weeks of the year.
Research* has highlighted the particular problems associated with depression following Christmas, especially in groups who have substance misuse issues. To help our service users beat the winter blues, a campaign promoting #sparklethroughwinter has been launched by the South Tyneside Drug and Alcohol Recovery Service (STARS).
Amy Levy, Area Manager for STARS said: “The short days and long, dark nights of winter can have a negative effect on people’s mind-sets, leading to further unhelpful thoughts. We are hoping these ideas for overcoming the winter blues will help people get over any self-defeating thoughts and sparkle through the winter”.
A selection of new posters have been developed and circulated across their services so users of STARS services can easily see and understand these messages. They use strong imagery to enhance the messages on how to help make winter ‘sparkle’, with themes ranging from friendship, health and leisure.
Alongside the posters, staff and service users are being encouraged to share their own ideas on how to Sparkle through Winter on the South Tyneside Drug and Alcohol Recovery Service’s Twitter account as well as on Facebook using the hashtag #sparklethroughwinter.
Support at this time is particularly important for those who may have issues with alcohol and/or drugs and who might try and cope with negative feelings through substance misuse.
Our tips include:
- Keep active – A daily walk in the middle of the day could be as helpful as light treatment for coping with the winter blues.
- Take advantage of any sunshine – Go outdoors in natural daylight as much as possible, especially at midday and on brighter days. Inside your home, choose pale colours that reflect light from outside, and sit near windows whenever you can.
- Keep warm – Being cold may make you feel more depressed, so staying warm may reduce the winter blues. Keep warm with hot drinks and hot food. Wear warm clothes and shoes, and aim to keep your home between 18C and 21C (or 64F and 70F degrees).
- Eat well – A healthy diet will boost your mood, give you more energy and stop you putting on weight over winter. Balance your craving for carbohydrates, such as pasta and potatoes, with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.
- Try something new – Keeping your mind active with a new interest may help you get through the winter blues. It could be anything, such as playing bridge, singing, knitting, joining a gym, keeping a journal, or writing a blog. The important thing is that you have something to look forward to and concentrate on.
- Connect with other people – It’s been shown that socialising is good for your mental health and helps ward off the winter blues. Make an effort to keep in touch with people you care about and accept any invitations you get to social events, even if you only go for a little while.
- Talk it through – Talking treatments such as counselling, psychotherapy or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help you cope with symptoms. See your GP for information on what’s available locally
- Keep to your care plan – It’s been designed to help you achieve your goals.