How to Keep the Winter Blues at Bay

Life can feel pretty bleak when the days start getting shorter, the nights start getting longer, and it feels as though it’s cold all the time. But maybe the winter blues don’t have to be as regular as the seasons!

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It’s common for the change in season to have huge impacts on mental health and wellbeing. It’s estimated that around 10 to 20% of the population experience the “winter blues,” and 1 to 2% of the population are much more severely affected and suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD). 

Here are few ideas that you can try to help yourself to cope with these feelings.

Go outside!

When it’s warm and cozy inside your home, and outside it’s colder than a cryogenically frozen penguin, it can be pretty tempting just to make yourself another cuppa and get comfy on the couch. However, if you want to stay happy and healthy through the winter months, there are a few good reasons why you should go outside anyway:

  • Natural daylight raises your serotonin levels. That’s one of the chemicals in your brain responsible for you feeling happy and alert. There are fewer opportunities for natural daylight in the winter, so make it a part of your daily routine that you go outside while it’s still light out and make the most of it.
  • Daylight boosts vitamin D. A lot of people are deficient in vitamin D over the winter months because they aren’t getting enough daylight. Vitamin D is needed for calcium absorption, and it also helps to promote the function of your immune system. It’s not a bad idea to think about supplementing your vitamin D intake over the winter as well.
  • Being in natural surroundings helps to improve your memory. Research shows that being in an environment surrounded by plants and trees improves your recall ability.
  • It gives you a break. Go outside and ignore your phone and emails for 20 minutes. This chance to reconnect with yourself is vital for managing anxiety.

Watch what you eat

Eating right is important all year round, but it’s especially important over the winter months, as we’re more susceptible to illness during this time. Eating nutrient-dense superfoods can help to boost our immune systems and make us much more efficient at fighting illness. 

In addition, deficiencies in some essential vitamins like B12 and vitamin D have been linked to low mood and depression, so keeping your levels right is very important for your mental health, too.

Create a sleep routine

Sleep has a huge impact on our mood, so focusing on sleep is a great way to keep yourself happy and healthy.

There are several steps you can take to help yourself sleep better. A very important one is to stop looking at your phone! The light from screens keeps you awake, and the content of your social media feed is likely to keep you pretty wired. 

One hour before you want to be going to sleep, put your phone in a room away from you and make an effort to relax and unwind. You can try reading a book before bed, or even add a little meditation into your night-time routine.

Experiment and see what works for you, but definitely lay off the screens!

Reach out

If you’re feeling low it’s very important that you reach out and speak with someone about it. Talk with a friend or family member, or visit your doctor. 

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