After a long Autumn term, school has finally finished for the Christmas holidays. Whilst for most of us, it is a time of fun and joy, there are a growing number of people that struggle with anxiety and depression. One in ten people feel unable to cope at this time of year, according to research by the charity Mind – a figure which rises to a third of people with a mental health problem.

One of the key ways to improve your mental health is through exercise. We know exercise is important for our bodies but what other benefits does it have?

  • It releases the feel-good chemicals (endorphins), which help you to relax and feel happy. Scientists have shown it can help people with mild depression. Evidence shows it can also help protect people against anxiety.
  • Recent research has also shown that regular exercise can help to boost our immune systems which will help us to better fight off those winter colds and viruses.
  • Extensive research shows that children who get outside to be active, behave better, have a higher IQ and have higher self-esteem. So, when your children are driving you slightly crazy indoors this Christmas, try taking them outside to improve their behaviour!
  • Physical activity is thought to cause chemical changes in the brain, which can help to positively change our mood.
  • Some scientists think being active can improve wellbeing because it brings about a sense of greater self-esteem, self-control and the ability to rise to a challenge.
  • Doing activity as a family can help give the children positive attention, create happy family memories and improve the family bond.

Here are six ways to stay active over the Christmas period:

  1. Go ice-skating! At this time of the year there are a number of outdoor ice-rinks around various locations to enjoy.
  2. Go for a crisp winter walk. Go look around the neighbourhood at the Christmas lights or go through the alphabet and name an item you see beginning with that letter.
  3. When the weather isn’t great or it’s too dark– put some festive tunes and have a dance party. A fun way to burn off the Christmas turkey!
  4. If you are lucky enough to see snow this Christmas, head out and build a snowman, have a snowball fight or get the sledge out.
  5. Take turns in picking online fitness videos to do together as a family.
  6. Bubble wrap attack – make use of the extra bubble wrap around at this time of year to do some crazy jumping to pop all those bubbles.

Many of us avoid going outside if it’s cold and wet. It may be a battle to get outdoor clothes on the younger ones whilst your teen might be concerned about looking good when they go outside but it’s important that they dress appropriately for the weather. Frostbite and hypothermia pose serious risks to children in the winter. Here are some tips to enjoy the winter outdoors:

  • Make sure you dress well yourself – we often find ourselves cutting short outdoor play because we are too cold ourselves!
  • Ensure the children are wearing appropriate footwear. Take a look at our range of wellies or snowboots help keep their feet dry and warm.
  • Layer up with thermals to keep them warm.
  • Wear a warm, waterproof coat/trousers or bodysuit – take a look at our great range here.
  • Accessorise with hats and gloves.
  • If you are going to engage in winter sports, insist on helmets and other safety gear.

Thank you for reading and hope these ideas give you some great family memories whilst reducing anxiety, decreasing depression and improving self-esteem!

Merry Christmas!

Jemma & Gill xxx

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