Tackling the Winter Blues19 Dec, 20225 mins
Winter can be a tough time to get through, constant darkness, cold miserable weather, and th...
Winter can be a tough time to get through, constant darkness, cold miserable weather, and the feeling that you just want to hibernate.
The NHS have estimated that the winter blues – technically known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD) can affect up to 2 million people in the UK and 12 million people across Northern Europe.
This can make simple tasks such as getting out of bed, leaving the house, and working feels impossible.
Whilst it may feel difficult to do, for most, tackling the winter blues can be managed with some lifestyle modifications. Here are some tips on what you can do to tackle the winter blues!
1. Keep Active
Whilst working out may feel like the last thing you want to do, winter is the time to do it more than ever. Encouraging yourself to stay active will help you feel better and has been shown to boost mood, decrease the symptoms of depression and reduce stress. Swimming is a great sport to try out, it works out the whole body but can also be relaxing on the muscles. Or why not try a gym class, I can be encouraging to do a workout when you’re being led by someone motivating you and being surrounded by others all working too. Keeping active doesn’t have to involve anything rigorous and straining such as weight training, going for a walk or taking up yoga can also be great activities to help you stay active without straining yourself - any form of exercise that works for you and keeps you moving can work just as well as antidepressants!
2. Get outside and get those vitamins
It’s not uncommon for people to feel like they want to hibernate in winter, shut the curtains and not see the outside world, vitamin levels can see a decrease in the winter months – particularly vitamin D. However, wrapping up and getting outside to see as much daylight and vitamin D as possible can really help boost your mood. First thing in the morning, on your lunch break, or whenever it’s light, make the effort to see some daylight. Whilst the weather may be cold, try and find the beauty of the outside world, the autumnal colours, and the wildlife you may see on your strolls. You can also help yourself by taking some Vitamin D and multivitamin supplements to help restore your vitamin levels, ensuring you’re eating the right foods high in these vitamins will also help to boost your mood.
3. Reach out to friends and family
Summer is an easy time to be sociable, but in the winter with shorter days, it can feel more effort to leave the house and you feel as though you want to get home and stay home especially if you’ve been at work all day. Make the effort to arrange plans to see family and friends, go for a coffee, for lunch, a walk together or a browse round the shops, it can be anything you like. Surrounding yourself with people who make you feel good can help to boost your mood and forget about the winter blues. If visiting family isn’t a practical option, we have the beauty of technology at our hands. It’s easy now to give a family member or friend a call or, even better, a video call whenever you may need it! Having a strong support system throughout winter will help you get through the tough, colder months.
4. Take up a new hobby
Having something to focus on and keep your mind occupied is another way to help tackle the winter blues. Why not try a new gym class that you’ve been apprehensive about going to? Going with a friend can help encourage you to keep going. Fancy something creative? Why not try some arts and crafts (it doesn’t matter if you’re not a natural-born artist) such as knitting, stitching, painting or drawing? Perhaps you enjoy writing – maybe try journaling or writing a blog. You could spend some time working on yourself, try learning a new language or skill, read some self-help books, or practise mindfulness and meditation. Anything that can give your brain something to focus on and forget about the winter is a great help.
5. Embrace the season
Whilst the dark and cold aspects of Christmas can make you feel down, it’s important to try and see the nice, exciting things that come with the winter months. Light your favourite candles, choosing a scent that makes you feel warm, happy, and relaxed. Run a hot bath using your best scented bubble bath. Get out the blankets and your favourite winter pyjamas and enjoy being cosy and wrapped up. Create a seasonal playlist that you enjoy listening to and that makes you feel good. Perhaps you have a family member or friend’s birthday approaching that you can enjoy. Once December hits you’ve pushed through the worst, Christmas lights, songs and decorations can really help you feel more cheery – the lead-up to Christmas is always busy and can give you something to focus on knowing the big day is not too far away! The best thing you can do is embrace the season, not fight it!
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