Health and wellbeing expert Lee Health says it’s time to stop talking about the Australian winter and embrace a new Australian winter, which is the season when you get a few days of sunshine and no snow in the ground.
The research suggests Australians are getting the best of both worlds in terms of mental health, as well as physical wellbeing.
Ms Health said the cold weather is the best thing for the country.
“I think that winter has been good for mental health and for physical wellbeing,” she said.
“It has helped us recover a lot from the winter storms that have hit the country, particularly in Victoria and New South Wales.”
She said the research showed people who are outdoors and have had a good night’s sleep were more likely to be at a lower risk of developing a range of health problems, including anxiety and depression.
She said that was because they were more aware of their health and felt they were at their peak during this period.
“This period is when you’re most vulnerable to the impacts of the weather, because you’re probably getting a lot of sleep, you’re not feeling so cold, and you’re eating well,” she told ABC News Breakfast.
“People are more aware about the risks and more prepared for them.”
Health experts are calling for Australians to take a more active approach to their winter lifestyle.
Dr John Smith from the Victorian Public Health Association said the current winter is not helping to keep people healthier, but there was still a lot to learn about how the season could be improved.
“If we can keep people away from those cold, wet and snowy conditions, then we can see a significant improvement in our population,” he said.
Dr Smith said it was important that people knew about the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and also what to do if they felt they needed to change their lifestyle to get their mood and wellbeing back on track.
“You don’t have to change the way you eat or the way your exercise, because the symptoms are there,” he explained.
“The only thing that you need to do is to look at your lifestyle and make sure you are not doing anything that is not working.”
He said people should also pay more attention to the health and wellbeing of their pets, particularly if they are kept indoors.
“We need to be aware that the pets that we have in our house are our best friend, and we need to give them the same care as we do our own,” he added.
“Make sure you don’t leave the pets in the cold.
Make sure they get some warm clothes, make sure they are given the opportunity to get out of the house, but make sure that they are warm and comfortable.”
Topics: health, health-policy, health, australia