Winter can be a difficult time for many people. Long periods of darkness, cold weather, isolation and the prospect of Christmas can have a negative impact upon people's mental health. There are things that you can do to help to keep yourself and those you care about safe and well during this time.
Your mental wellbeing is just as important as your physical health. Following these five ways to wellbeing can help to improve your mental health and wellbeing
Connect…with the people around you and invest time in developing relationship. Building these connections will support and enrich you every day.
Be active…exercising makes you feel good. Discover a physical activity you enjoy and that suits your level of mobility and fitness
Take notice… Savour the moment, whether you are walking to work, eating lunch or talking to friends. Reflecting on your experiences will help you to appreciate what matters
Keep learning...Set a challenge you will enjoy achieving. Learning new things will make you more confident as well as being fun
Give… Do something nice for a friend, or a stranger. Seeing yourself, and your happiness, linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and creates connections with the people around you
Advice for people spending Christmas alone
Christmas can be stressful time for many different reasons. It can be hard for people who are going to be alone or for those who are going to be spending extended periods of time with family that they wouldn't usually see. Loneliness and isolation are often associated with Christmas and it is recognised that many people require additional help and support at this time of year.
Keep busy - try to stop Christmas taking over your life and make time for enjoyable activities such as reading, going for a walk or going to the cinema
Be a volunteer - many charities and organisations need help at Christmas and you could think about spending a few hours working as a volunteer. Visit our page at Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue for more information
Take some physical exercise - this reduces stress and enhances mood. Just getting off the sofa and going for a walk can make you feel better
Eat and drink healthily - traditional Christmas food and drink can be excessive and lead to lethargy and low mood. Eating and drinking in moderation and eating plenty of fruit and vegetables and lift your mood
Find a listening ear - people who are lonely can find it helpful to speak to someone removed from their situation. Some organisations such as Mind or the Samaritans, have befriending services and offer confidential support by telephone
Need further advice and support?
If you are concerned about your own mental health or that of someone you care for make an appointment to see the GP.
The following organisations are also available for advice and support
ROSPA - Telephone 0121 248 2000 / www.rospa.com
Met Office - www.metoffice.gov.uk/learning/get-ready-for-winter
The Samaritans - Telephone 08457 90 90 90 / www.samaritans.org
Mind, for better mental health - Telephone 0300 123 3393 / www.mind.org.uk
Alzheimers - Telephone 0845 300 0336 / www.alzheimers.org.uk
Age UK - Telephone 0800 169 6565 / www.ageuk.org.uk
NHS Direct - Telephone 0845 4647 / www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk
Princess Royal Trust for Carers - Telephone 0808 808 7777 / www.carers.org