With the winter months quickly approaching, many of us can get caught up in holding onto the warm, sweet memories of summer.

But winter brings with it a unique opportunity to slow down and take a long, deep breath. If we let it, it can even bring with it opportunities to work on ourselves and come out the other end healthier, calmer and better adjusted.

Psychologist and Clinical Registrar Lucy Morrish spoke to us about the 5 ways to make the most out of winter and the benefits it can have for our wellbeing.

1.    Get cosy

As it gets colder, we can bring out our cosiest winter jackets and blankets and bunker down at home. Lucy suggested “creating a nice inside space” where you can read books, drink tea and get comfortable.

The Danish refer to this little bit of cosiness as ‘hygge’, and it’s so essential to their culture that interior design is focused on creating an atmosphere conducive to cosiness. This is one of the reasons why despite the coldness, the Danish are often voted one of the happiest countries in the world.

2.    Plan a winter getaway

Getaways aren’t only for the sunnier months. Lucy explained that having something to plan for can be a great way to make the most out of the cooler weather and lets you have a mini adventure.

Whether it’s a getaway to a house with an open log fire or a trip down the coast for when the weather does improve a little, planning for the future can help those winter blues pass you by.

3.    Get a winter-friendly exercise routine

Lucy suggested finding something you can do that won’t be affected by weather, which may even be an indoor activity like yoga or rock climbing.

Regardless of what the activity is though, winter can provide an excellent time to work on your fitness, which in turn can have a tremendously positive influence on your mood.

4.    Snatch up the sun when you can

Even in the peak of winter, Mother Nature can spoil us with a cloudless (albeit crisp) sunshiney day. Lucy encouraged us all to take advantage of these days by soaking up the sun and getting a much needed hit of Vitamin D to help improve our mood.

Failing that, Lucy explained that light therapy may be an option for some who feel they’re lacking the sun’s rays. This unique therapy is often used to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) that usually occurs in winter.

5.    Take the time to check in with yourself

Lastly but perhaps most importantly, winter gives us a chance to check in with ourselves. Lucy suggested using this time to reflect on where we’re at and where we want to go. She explained that when life slows down, we can start to reset our goals and contemplate what’s next for us.

By incorporating this little bit of mindfulness into our everyday life while also finding our own version of hygge, we can come out of winter with calm, clarity and connectedness to ourselves and those around us.