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How to keep your brain fit and healthy as we move into the cold winter

By Mairead Wright, Employment, Skills and Enterprise Manager

We all know the importance of keeping warm over the winter to make sure we stay physically well in the colder months.

But many of us don’t think about our brains during this time and about keeping them healthy.

We’ve come up with five top tips to help you keep your brain in tip-top shape this winter – with some useful links to more information.

Take a read and see whether you can adopt any of these tips this winter.

Stay connected

Whether it’s friends, family or neighbours, or maybe even joining a local community group in-person or online, connecting with other people is a great way of keeping your brain in good shape during the colder months and shorter days.

Motability has some suggestions for online groups to try out - visit their website.

The Warm Spaces online directory will help you find your nearest community hub where you can drop in to stay warm and comfortable. This can be viewed by visiting the Warm Space website.

Alternatively, contact your local council and ask for information on their ‘warm banks’.

Get enough vitamin D

Keep your vitamin D levels topped up during this darker weather by getting outside while you can into the sunshine. Eat foods like fortified cereals and plant-based milk, oily fish, eggs, red meat, liver, tofu and mushrooms – canned and dried foods are good too.

Get your hearing checked

Recent studies have found a link between hearing and brain health. You can book a hearing test just as you would an eye test, but if you’re having hearing difficulties, you should also get checked out by your GP, who may make a referral for you. If you’ve got hearing aids, wear them regularly, as you would prescription glasses.

Keep your brain and body active

Limit how often you’re sitting still, by learning a new hobby like dance or yoga. There are lots of free classes available that you can follow on Youtube if you’re worried about being on camera.

Keep your brain active as much as your body; reading and even using your mobile phone count. If you are able to go online, look for free apps and websites you can use to practise music, reading or languages.

Card games and crosswords have been proven to keep your brain healthy. Why not complete the wordsearch on the back of this magazine? You may even win our prize!

Master your sleep hygiene

Get a better night’s sleep after trying the Sleep Foundation’s quiz and helpful tips, which can be found by visiting their website.

Trying some of these suggestions should also help promote habits that lead to a better sleeping pattern all year round, not just in the winter.

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