As the days get shorter with gloomy mornings and darker evenings, you might feel yourself going into 'hibernation mode.' With the grey, chilly weather, you might not be feeling your best. The 'winter blues' is a real thing - Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) affects around 2 million people in the UK and it's characterised by feeling more down, sad, or just less energised than usual. So, how can you get rid of that blah feeling and banish those winter blues?
What are the symptoms of SAD and 'winter blues?'
If you have SAD, this is a form of clinical depression that reoccurs around the same time each year. The symptoms of winter blues are similar, but a bit milder. You might experience:
- Feelings of hopelessness and despair
- Sleeping problems
- Trouble concentrating
- Changes in appetite
How to banish the winter blues
Don't let winter get you down... If you don't have the luxury of hibernating in your bed for the next 4 months, there are some simple ways you can lift your mood.
Here’s our top five tips that you can do today...
- Keep active
Whilst you’ll probably feel like just curling up on the couch in winter, it’s good to keep as active as you can to combat the winter blues. Regular exercise will keep you positive, feeling like you’re achieving something good for yourself. Exercising also releases your happy hormone - serotonin - so not only is it good for your health, it makes you feel good too!
Not sure where to start when it comes to exercise?
- Keep in touch
Making sure you keep in touch with your friends and family over the winter period helps you stay more connected to the world and feeling less isolated. Say 'yes' to any invitations you get to see your loved ones, even if you just go for an hour or two. If your family live far away, why not use the power of technology and use skype to have a chat so you can see them as well as hear them? These days we rely on instant messages for communication but it’s good for us to have more human interactions to improve our wellbeing. If you’re involved in a loved one’s care, you can gain access to their health record to further improve their care and make your life easier.
- Eat healthily
It’s easy to turn to comfort food when you’re not feeling at your best, but make sure that you’re not just mindlessly eating your way through that share bag of Doritos and being more conscious about your eating habits in the winter months. Making sure you’re getting your five-a-day is a good place to start so you can make sure you’re getting the right nutrients to keep your energy and immune system boosted.
If you're struggling to get up in the morning, try our healthy breakfast ideas to help you rise and shine!
- See the light
There’s not much of it around at this time of year, but getting outside for some natural daylight will help boost your vitamin D levels. Vitamin D also helps encourage the production of serotonin so can help boost that happy hormone. In those duller days, you might benefit from some light therapy helps – one way to do this is to sit in front of a lux light box for up to two hours a day. Light boxes give up to ten times stronger light than normal home or office lights and they can help boost your levels of serotonin.
- Stick on something upbeat
Turn over the slow ballads! Research has shown that listening (and dancing!) to some cheerful, upbeat music can improve your mood - even after the song ends. The same can also be said for films and TV shows - putting your favourite feel-good comedy or rom com could help you laugh away those seasonal blues.
If you're really struggling and your symptoms are so bad that you can't lead a normal life, go to see your GP. You can book an appointment online so you don't have to wait on the phone in a queue.