Beating the Winter Blues
The rain is pouring, the wind is howling, and the temperature feels like you’re living in Antarctica. Welcome to winter.
Some days winter can feel like it will never end. We’re longing for the days of lying on the beach, having evening BBQs, and enjoying the sun ‘til 9pm. Instead, we’re cooped up inside, feeling glum, and wishing these rainy days could be fast-forwarded. Or just dreaming about the next tropical holiday!
But the winter chill doesn’t have to put you in a permanently bad mood. If you’re looking to shake the winter blues, here are some of our best tips for seeing you through the dark days.
In the words of Olivia Newton-John: Let’s get physical!
Exercise has so many health benefits. From helping you stay in shape so you can work off those extra pieces of bacon, to keeping you fit so you can chase the kids around the yard. Many studies have been conducted on the merits of staying active. These studies have found that not all of the benefits are physical too!
Exercise is proven to boost mood, lower stress levels, and even improve cognitive functions like memory, attention, and problem-solving. This could be, in part, down to exercise’s ability to increase the brain’s production of four key neurotransmitters:
These four are often referred to as ‘happy chemicals’ as their effects range from boosting pleasure and satisfaction, to controlling stress and anxiety. You can read more about the magical happy chemicals here.
Staying active doesn’t have to mean the same for everyone either. For some people, it might mean going for a walk or hike. For others, it might mean an intense session at the gym. Try to find an activity you genuinely enjoy – it’ll make you more excited to do it again next time!
On the rare days that the Winter sun graces you with its presence, make the most of it. Is there anything better than feeling the sun on your face after a few days of rotten weather?!
In fact, we’d encourage you to get outside whenever you can – especially on brighter days. Heading out will help you get Vitamin D which helps your body absorb important minerals like calcium and phosphorus. Your body can generate Vitamin D, but it needs sunlight to make it!
Being out in nature can also help lessen anxiety and improve your sleep cycle and immunity. Sunlight and getting exercise tend to go hand-in-hand too. If you’re outside, chances are you might be taking a short walk at the same time. But even if you’re sitting on a chair soaking up the sun, try enjoying the great outdoors for at least half an hour each day.
Eat Well, Live Well
Mixing up the food you eat can work wonders in boosting your mood.
Consuming protein with breakfast, lunch and dinner is said to enhance mood and prevent sugar and carb cravings later in the day. A hearty meal like our Big Breakfast at Home is a great way to start the day on the right foot!
A few of our other best eating tips include:
Avoid snacking on junk and sweets, or you’ll often find yourself experiencing a drop after a sugar high.
Foods that are high in Vitamin D are excellent mood boosters. A few of our favourites include salmon, tuna, eggs and milk (fortified with Vitamin D).
Plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables will go a long way to boosting your immunity and keeping you free from all the winter germs.
Leave Time For Yourself
In winter, it’s dark when you wake up and it’s dark when you leave work. For some of us, this can make it feel like there are no daylight hours left in the day to enjoy – leading to a bad case of the winter blues!
While there’s nothing we can do to make the sun last longer, we can encourage you to seek opportunities for ‘me-time’. Carve out a bit of time to unwind at the end of the day and do something that’ll make you feel ‘de-stressed’ is a great way to put things in perspective. Try reading a book, watching tv, having a bath, or practicing some self-care.
If you’re feeling in a funk, don’t be afraid to reach out to others. Connection and support can work wonders to help you feel better. Sometimes, you’ll find it helps just to chat to someone about how you’re feeling – even if all they do is listen.
Feeling lonely or isolated tends to make the winter blues feel much worse. That’s why spending time with your nearest and dearest, even if it’s just a phone call or a Zoom, can be one of the best tonics to boost your mood.
Human contact and socialisation are so important to mental health!