It’s cold, it’s dark, the days are short and the nights are long. Is anyone else dreaming of long summer days?
But don't worry there’s lots you can do to make sure your mood doesn’t change with the seasons! Read on for our top ten tips to banish those winter blues.
Eating a nourishing diet is a great way to ensure your body has everything it needs to help you feel happy and stay healthy. On the flip side, not eating the right foods can contribute to feelings of winter woe. Nutritional deficiencies can surface as symptoms of tiredness, irritability, lack of motivation and depression. Getting enough energy, vitamins, minerals and protein from your diet will help you to avoid these and so banish those winter blues. Following a real-food lifestyle will help you to do just that, find out more here.
There’s heaps of evidence to demonstrate that exercise has a positive impact on mood, mindset and motivation. Keeping active come rain or shine is arguably the best way to beat the blues.
Whether you’re hitting the gym, walking the dog or exploring the great outdoors, physical activity activates neurotransmitters in the brain which create feelings of happiness. One study found that even a 15-minute walk can be enough to switch-on these reward systems, yes please!
Lack of good quality sleep has been shown to directly contribute to depression and that’s because sleep and mood are so closely connected. Sleep deprivation causes far more damage than baggy eyes and dark circles – it can leave emotions running high and mood low! So getting enough good quality sleep should be a priority for anyone suffering with seasonal sadness.
Shutting-down screens, avoiding caffeine and relaxing in the run-up to bedtime will help you to drift-off more easily and stay asleep for longer - enabling you to get the best quality of sleep possible.
The lack of light in the winter months is a major contributor to the winter blues. This is so much so that the depressive illness Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is thought to be triggered by a lack of sunlight in the winter. It affects levels of hormones which control mood and sleep. It also means we can’t synthesise as much Vitamin D, having the knock-on effect of lower serotonin levels.
To see the light at the end of the winter tunnel, seek out as much light as possible. Try getting out of the office for a lunch-time walk, exploring the outdoors on days off or using a UV light therapy box for 30-60 minutes each day. Read more here on the benefits of vitamin D.
In the hype of technological advancement, we have lost our connection with play – something which used to be an integral part of life.
Playfulness helps us to move and laugh more – unleashing our creative side and getting our happy juices flowing. Swerving your smartphone in favour of a frisbee, boomerang, slingshot or bow and arrow could give you the mood-boost you need.
As the saying goes, laughter is the best medicine! It triggers the release of endorphins (the body's natural feel-good chemicals), is contagious and can even relieve pain! But laughter can be far and few between when feeling low. Playing games, watching comedies and reminiscing with friends can stir up that laughter for an instant mood-lift. Heck, even forcing a smile has been shown to create the feeling of happiness! Low mood is no laughing matter, so a little light-hearted silliness could be just the thing you need to beat the blues.
Getting enough rest should be an integral part of any healthy lifestyle and shouldn’t be sacrificed to accommodate a busy schedule. We’ve talked about sleep but what about relaxation? You shouldn’t be either asleep or busy, making sure you embrace in some downtime could seriously improve your mood.
Try getting creative, listening to music, exploring nature or having a technology time-out to reduce the stress and anxiety levels that can leave you feeling low. And breathe, don’t forget to breathe!
You know what it’s like – catching up with friends gets pushed from next week, to next month and before you know it it’s next year! The winter months are a time for friends and family – so spare the time away from work to catch up with your nearest and dearest. Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert – humans are social animals and spending time with others can have a profound effect on uplifting your mood.
- Treat Yourself
As the old saying goes, if you don’t love yourself then who will?! Just as you aim to make those around you happy, it’s vital to make sure that you’re looking after number one.
Rewarding yourself activates those happy hormones we talked about earlier, creating feelings of pleasure that keep that smile on your face.
Treating yourself doesn’t have to be madly materialistic, in fact you don’t have to spend a penny to pat yourself on the back. Why not have breakfast in bed, a nice hot bubble bath, an afternoon nap or watch the sunset for some serotonin-soaring self-indulgence!
- Plan for the Year Ahead
Planning for the future instead of dissecting the past can help you to move forward, keep motivated and stay positive.
In fact, the mere act of planning can make you feel the pleasure of productivity. So set yourself some realistic goals – professional or personal, big or small – embrace the year ahead and keep checking in on those goals as you will be surprised how little by little you reach your goals.
All information provided on our website and within our articles is simply information, opinion, anecdotal thoughts and experiences to provide you with the tools to thrive.
It is not intended to treat or diagnose symptoms and is definitely not intended to be misconstrued for medical advice. We always advise you seek the advice of a trained professional when implementing any changes to your lifestyle and dietary habits.
We do however recommend seeking the services of a trained professional who questions the conventional wisdom to enable you to become the best version of yourself.