During the winter season, experiencing less than positive emotions is more common than you might think. Sometimes referred to as the ‘winter blues’ and in some cases categorised as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), you may find yourself feeling a little lower, more tired and perhaps a little more down than usual.
It is thought that one of the main reasons we might experience these feelings during the winter period is due to a significant decrease in our exposure to sunlight. Obviously colder, gloomy weather conditions, in general, are always going to be less appealing too!
Once you notice the telltale signs that winter has you in its grasp, there are a few actions you can take to break free. However, the very best way to ensuring your winning through every winter season is to prepare for it in advance. By putting in place some go to strategies you may be able to potentially prevent the onset entirely.
Be sure to schedule in plenty of outdoor activities in the daytime to enable to you access as much of the available natural daylight as possible. This could be as simple as going for a leisurely walk with your dog or a friend each day.
Where possible, sit in areas where there is plenty of natural light coming through the windows. If this isn’t possible, you could always invest in a sun lamp which has been proven to be of great benefits to those suffering from symptoms of SAD.
Another option can be investing in a hot tub. After all, what more motivation do you need to be outside in the winter than a warm, cosy and relaxing hot tub! Hot tubs have a whole host of health and wellbeing benefits so this will be a truly cost-effective investment, as you can enjoy the benefits all year round.
Spending your free time doing enjoyable tasks is an important step in keeping sadness at bay. It’s been suggested that doing a creative activity such as crafts, painting, knitting, singing, writing etc can instantly produce a positive emotional state. By engaging this part of the brain more regularly throughout winter, this type of activity might just be the perfect antidote to get you through.
If you’re not into creative activities, simply think about hobbies that make you feel happy and engaged. This could be as simple as listening to some of your favourite upbeat tracks while you clean the house or attending salsa classes – it doesn’t matter what the activity is, as longs as it makes you feel good and this will be specific to your interests.
Whether you’re a self-proclaimed introvert or not, we are all social creatures and feel better when we spend at least some time in the company of others. Therefore, one of the best strategies you can have to keep your health and wellbeing on track throughout the winter is to ensure you spend time with friends and family.
If you live far away from relatives, this doesn’t need to stop you from staying connected to a social circle. With so many platforms readily available to instantly access others from across the world, you’re really spoilt for choice.
However, virtual interactions don’t quite replace the feeling you get from a real hug from your mum. So if you have identified that face to face is important, perhaps ensure winter is the time you schedule some holiday to go and visit your family when you need them most.
Diet and Exercise
What we choose to eat has a huge impact on how we feel. It may be that in winter you find yourself craving comforting foods. In those moments, you may be tempted to reach for the takeaway pizza but a wholesome and hearty stew or casserole is likely to achieve the nourishment you need both in the moment and longer term.
Staying active is another great way to combat the onset of the winter blues. Even doing 10 minutes of moderate exercise a day could make a difference. A good way to incorporate this into your winter routine is to choose social activities which involve increasing your heart rate, such as badminton, bowling, cleaning, horse riding, walking the dog – just choose something that appeals to you.