People often complain of “the winter blues” or if you’re like me, the slightly more intense “Seasonal Affective Disorder”. That’s right; lack of sunlight and warmth in the winter months can actually cause disruptive mood disorders for roughly 29% of people living in the UK. Winter arrives and at first people are excited; we’re bundling up, drinking mulled wine and hot chocolate, festive lights are up, family is visiting. Suddenly, the festivities are over and you realise we’ve still got January, February, and March to go. Days are short, cold, cloudy, rainy, and dark. It’s hard to stay upbeat and positive in the seemingly endless drear. Thankfully, I’ve figured out a few tips to help you beat the Winter Blues and keep you feeling sunny until spring.
1. Get Out- If you have the means to physically go someplace warmer, schedule a little winter get away to cheer yourself up! On the other hand, if you’re like me, you need to find a way to escape without actually going anywhere. In Chester, we are lucky to have a plethora of wonderful, artisan coffee shops (Short & Stout / Little Yellow Pig in Hoole and Bean & Cole / The Flower Cup in town are some definite favourites) at our finger tips. Find time each week to sneak away for a hot drink and soak up the warmth of free heating and human energy.
2. Vitamin D/Sun lamps- One of the big contributors to the winter blues is Vitamin D deficiency. I usually start taking a Vitamin D supplement around November to try and head off any early signs of the winter blues. A lot of people swear by sun lamps; these cozy little devices give off a natural light that mimics the sun. If you can sit in front of one for 15-20 minutes a day, like during your morning coffee, it could make a huge difference to the rest of your day.
3. Eat Right- A proper diet of fresh food does wonders for your physical and mental health. When your body is full of all the essential vitamins and nutrients, it gives you the strength and energy to naturally fight off those dark winter moods. We’ve got some great blogs on healthy snacking to help you get started.
4. Stay Active- Its dark, wet, and cold. The last thing you want to do is extract yourself from your couch cocoon of Netflix comfort and do anything that isn’t absolutely necessary. Getting off the couch is the hardest part, but once you have you’ll be so glad you did. Hitting the gym, or one of our dynamic group sessions (FREE) at Synergy Health and Performance, gets you out of the house, releases those natural endorphins, and lets you take advantage of some free climate control. It’s hard to stay down when the music is going and everyone around you is giving off those positive workout feels.
5. Stay Social- This is perhaps the most important one of all, surround yourself with friends and family! The weather makes simple tasks like getting to the shop or staying warm in your own living room difficult; so put the kettle on and invite a friend over for a cuppa and a movie marathon. Do you know someone struggling? Grab a bottle of mulled wine and stop in to cheer someone up. You’ll both be better for it.
These tips are a great place to start whether you find yourself feeling a bit low on energy this winter, or with a full on case of the Winter Blues. However, if you find your low feelings continuing to sink, or if you’re just struggling to cope with the dreary season, get in to see a doctor. Struggling with the winter months is more common than you think and there’s plenty of resources to help you get to the light of spring!
Article by - Lisa Hurd