Brits ‘dreading’ winter in lockdown fear strain on mental and physical health

More than half of Brits are 'dreading' winter due to Covid restrictions and worry it will be harder on their mental and physical health than ever before.

Many who anticipate a dip in their wellbeing are taking inspiration from other countries on how to cope during the next month of short daylight hours with meeting pals off the cards.

For 35%, the Scandinavian trend of 'Hygge' looks like an attractive approach to adopt as it involves surrounding yourself with things which provide comfort.

'C sagach' – a Scottish term meaning snug and sheltered will be tried out by 22% of the 2,000 adults surveyed for Healthspan.

The Welsh name for cubbyhole, 'Cwtch' is being eyed up by 14% who will aim to create a home space which embraces people like a hug.

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One in six are inspired by the Norwegian trend of 'Friluftsliv' – open air and outdoor living – and a tenth are looking to the Swedish 'Fika' which encourages you to take time out.

The research was commissioned by Healthspan for its launch of new products, ImmunoVit Super C and Vegan D with Zinc and B12, designed to support the immune system during darker months.

Dr Meg Arroll, a psychologist specialising in health on behalf of Healthspan, said: "We all see the pattern every winter.

"As the nights draw in and the weather gets colder, we spend less and less time outside in the daylight.

"This winter, with restrictions in place and more on the horizon this will have an effect on our mental health, but it could also affect our physical health and immunity levels due to the lack of vitamin D."

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"Also, an experimental study conducted at Pennsylvania State University found that people who feel low or in a bad mood consistently over a given day, for several days, had higher levels of inflammation in their bodies.

"This new study also shows that long-term anger and sadness can also have a direct physiological impact.

"Therefore, it's important to first of all notice when we're feeling chronically down in the dumps or frustrated.

"Short bouts of irritation aren't harmful, but months and months of dreading the winter is not only unpleasant, but there is increasing evidence to show that this mindset can impair immune function, potentially leaving us less able to fight off infection."

The research also found eight in ten adults admitted to often going a whole day without stepping outside at all last winter.

Now though one in four admit the lack of commute and Covid-19 restrictions means they will spend even less time outside.

On average just over an hour is spent outside on working days, rising to a little more than two hours a day at the weekend.

Others believe they will see less daylight this winter due to seeing friends and family virtually and doing more online shopping than in previous years.

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