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November 24, 2021

Winter Is Coming!

Blackdog Outdoors is a fantastic charity dedicated to improving mental health by providing opportunities for outdoor activities. You can find out more about this awesome cause by reading Director Andy’s blog here.

For most of us climbers, winter means excitement. It’s gritstone season, it’s the sharpening of crampons and ice axes, the digging out of kit that hasn’t seen the light of day for almost a year, and the re-emergence of classic phrases such as “It was definitely type 2 fun”.

But for many of us the darker nights and shorter days can also bring an ominous, sinking feeling. As the light starts to fade and the nights get longer, the prospect of facing the next few months of damp and darkness can feel overwhelming. Here at Blackdog Outdoors we’ve been looking at some top tips for getting involved this winter, making the most of our time outdoors and keeping our well-being in check.

To keep our mental resilience high, we’re asking people to stay active, stay warm, and stay in touch.

Stay active:

Stay warm:

If you’re getting involved in some winter activity, getting your clothing system right can have a huge impact on your experience. A good day can turn quickly become miserable when we’re soggy and cold. To stay warm and dry, focus on the three-layer clothing system. A base layer, a mid-layer, and an outer shell.

Alfred Wainwright was famed for his use of the Scandinavian quote “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.”, and a little knowledge about clothing systems can go a long way to keeping us happy in the outdoors.

Stay in touch:

The winter months and the festive period can be isolating for some of us, particularly those living with mental health conditions. It’s important that we stay connected during the winter months and keep checking in on our friends. If you haven’t seen that one friend for a while, give them a text or a call and see how they’re doing. If you could use a chat yourself and don’t feel like talking to your friends, you can reach out to a number of different, free, services. Some of our favorites are listed below.

SHOUT – Shout 85258 is a free, confidential, 24/7 text messaging support service for anyone who is struggling to cope. Just text “Shout” to 85258

Samaritans – Call any time, day or night. Whatever you’re going through, you can call any time, from any phone for free. Call 116 123

MIND – The MIND information line is open for you to ask about mental health problems, where to get help near you, treatment options and advocacy services. Telephone 0300 123 3393

However you choose to spend your winter, we hope you’ll find some time to keep yourself active, stay moving and stay in touch with those around you.

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