Karolina Nowadczyk has worked for Brunelcare for 12 years and has trained to become a counsellor, obtaining a level 4 qualification in Humanistic Counselling and a level 5 in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

Alongside her role as a Team Leader at our Deerhurst Care Home, Karolina has been helping residents and employees practise mindfulness as part of our Winter Wellness initiative. Recognising that people of all ages can benefit from looking after their mental wellbeing, Karolina wanted to share her top tips for staying mindful this winter.

1. Get exercising

Exercise is one of the most important things you can do to combat stress and increase your wellbeing this winter. It is said that people who exercise regularly are less likely to experience anxiety than those who don’t. If you find it difficult to exercise, try going for a short walk outside or doing some stretching in your chair.

2. Consider natural supplements

Lemon balm, a member of the mint family, has been studied for its anti-anxiety effects. This small plant - which can be grown at home or purchased at a garden centre - can be made into a tea using its leaves to relieve anxiety and warm you up this winter. Omega-3 fatty acids are also an excellent supplement to take, alongside green tea, valerian and kava kava.

3. Light a candle

Using essential oils or burning scented candles may help reduce your feelings of stress and anxiety this winter. The most soothing and calming scents are said to be lavender, rose, vetiver and bergamot.

4. Reduce your caffeine intake

Caffeine is a stimulant found in coffee, tea, chocolate and energy drinks. High doses of caffeine can cause anxiety and stop you sleeping, so try green tea or lemon balm tea in its place.

5. Write it down

One way to handle stress and anxiety this winter is to write it down. While recording your stresses in a journal can be useful, try reflecting on things you are grateful for instead. Gratitude may help relieve stress and anxiety by focusing your thoughts on the positive things in your life.

6. Spend time with family and friends this winter

Social support from friends and family can be crucial when you’re facing stress. Being part of a friend network gives you a sense of belonging and self-worth, which can help get you through those difficult moments. One study found that, for women in particular, spending time with friends and children helps release Oxytocin, a natural stress reliever. The effect is called ‘tend-and-befriend,’ which is opposite to the fight-or-flight response.

7. Listen to soothing music

Listening to music can have a very relaxing effect on the body. Slow-paced instrumental music can induce the relaxation responses by helping lower blood pressure, heart rate and stress hormones.

8. Spend time with your pet

Pets have been said to help reduce stress and improve your mood, so make sure to spend some time with your furry friends this winter. Spending time with pets may help release Oxytocin, a brain chemical that promotes a positive mood. They provide great companionship, and can be great for giving you purpose and helping you keep active.

To read more about our mindfulness sessions, click here.

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