Whether you suffer from SAD, or just have the odd day of feeling down, there are things you can do to help curb the winter blues. And while we know this winter is going to be harder than most, what with the latest lockdown, cancelled Christmas plans, and uncertainty surrounding the new year, there are some simple things you can do to help get you through the next few months.
Exercise is by far the simplest and easiest way to beat the winter blues. Even if it’s just 15 minutes a day, a walk in the fresh air will do you some good. Whether it’s before or after work, or on your lunchbreak, layer up and put on your favourite songs or podcast. Even if the weather is rubbish, you’ll instantly feel better. And if you’re missing the gym there are plenty of workout videos on YouTube. From HIIT sessions to body-weight strength training, find what works for you!
While Scandinavian nations are the land of the midnight sun, come winter, they’re some of the darkest places to live, seeing only five hours of daylight a day. And in the North Pole, poor old Santa sees barely any, with only four hours of twilight before being plunged back into darkness. Because of these long, cold, dark winters, they created the concept of hygge. The hygge ethos is all about embracing the cosy side of winter. So, snuggle up by a fire and watch some comforting tv, bake warming foods like soups and stews, gingerbread loaves, and of course drink lots of hot chocolate.
The simple act of gratitude might be the answer to helping you stay happy this winter. Before getting out of bed or going to sleep, spend five minutes thinking about what you’re grateful for. Make a note on your phone or use a special gratitude journal. Making the practise of gratitude part of your daily routine will not only help you feel happier about your current situation, but studies have shown it can actually rewire your brain to make you become a more positive thinker.
Create a budget
While looking at your finances may not sound like a great way to de-stress, financial worries can cause a lot of angst – whether we acknowledge it or not. Normally the run-up to Christmas is full of social occasions – and spending, but this year, we’ve all been presented with a unique opportunity to pay off our credit cards, or at least budget for making regular payments and plan our spending for the new year. We guarantee once complete, a weight you didn’t even know was there, will feel like it’s been lifted.
One of the main reasons we feel down in winter is because we don’t get enough Vitamin D. It plays a vital role in regulating mood, maintaining optimum blood sugar levels, and boosting our immune system. But the main source of Vitamin D is sunlight, and in the winter, the sun’s rays aren’t strong enough to stimulate the response in our skin. Instead, take a vitamin supplement to help increase your Vitamin D, and over time you’ll start to feel better.