30/11/2016 08:34 GMT | Updated 30/11/2017 05:12 GMT

Winter Blues

As Autumn/Winter offers many advantages for us who enjoy shorter days and hiding under oversized clothing, this time of year can be difficult for one who suffers mental illness. Not only does it become ridiculously expensive - being the festive season and all, but the endless requirement to celebrate (Halloween, Bonfire Night, Christmas & New Years) can spark a huge amount of anxiety and depression.

I find that my Mental Health suffers during this time of year and comes with a constant battle between extreme FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and anxiety-riddled excuses as to why I won't attend Christmas parties or other winter-time social events. Fighting the "Winter Blues" can be difficult so I've come up with some Winter Mental Health Tips that I have found useful and hopefully help make your winter a bit more bearable.

1. Be Selfless

This time of year is the perfect time for volunteering and donating- as the temperature starts to drop, being able to help people less fortunate will not only bring great fulfilment to them but certainly to you too. For many people, Christmas is no fun at all, so this year I will be spending my Christmas donating and volunteering for those in need. Volunteering can range from something as small as giving your spare coats and jackets away to the homeless, working at a soup kitchen or volunteering your time at food banks - the smallest things can really have the biggest effect on someone else's Christmas. Volunteering is great for increasing self-confidence, improving physical health and making great memories and Winter is also the perfect time for a spring-clean just in time for the New Year.

2. Master the Art of Saying No

This time of year doesn't have to be expensive - nor does it need to be spent around people who are in constant celebration. Learning when and how to say no is something that is so beneficial to your Mental Health and will come with many advantages. This time of year comes with endless event invites so being able to take a step back and declining wouldn't be the worst thing you could do to preserve your energy. Making conscious decisions allow you to put yourself first and doesn't force you to live up to unrealistic standards for yourself. Remember, saying "no" and communicating this in a literal way is a show of respect to yourself, your time and whatever it is that you find valuable.

3. Treat Yourself

Self-care is essential for maintaining good Mental Health; the changing of seasons should be a reminder to change things up. I find satisfaction in the small things, like treating myself to a new candle, or giving myself a little extra sleep, eating comfort foods, etc. which can make all the difference. Giving in to your winter-wants does not make you selfish - we spend so much time and money buying for others around Christmas time, we forget to treat ourselves in the midst of things, so treat yourself, you deserve it! Allow yourself to at least one simple pleasure a day and don't feel bad about it.

4. Health and Well-Being

Keep hydrated and moisturised, get enough sleep, stock up on your vitamins and supplements - some that I recommend during this time of year are Vitamin B12 for healthy skin, hair and nails and vitamin D as a supplement for the lack of sunlight. High oxidants foods like oranges, strawberries, kiwi fruit, broccoli, carrots and cabbage are also great for keeping your immune system strong!

5. Stock up on winter essentials

As well as keeping yourself well physically, winter home essentials are not only cosy but will hopefully make your winter nights a bit more enjoyable. I've rounded up some of my favourite winter home essentials:

-Hot water bottle

-Electric blanket

-Fairy lights

-Scented candles

-Speciality teas - my favourites are Camomile, Earl Grey and Lemon & Ginger

It's important to be kind to yourself; now more than ever - during this time of year, our bodies are more open to depression. Be conscious and listen to the needs of your body always. Monitor your emotions, invest in your health and listen to the needs of your body to fight off the Winter Blues. I hope you find my tips useful and wishing you all a healthy and happy winter!