It’s almost Winter, and you might really hate it! It can be ‘too cold’, ‘too dark’, you can feel a bit low and blue, stressed out and worn down. And with the colder weather for some people, can come a few health concerns and challenges during the winter months. But even though it may be gloomy outside, your outlook doesn’t have to be!
It’s not uncommon this time of year to feel a case of the “winter blues” – sometimes known as SAD, seasonal affective disorder (a more serious side to the winter blues). At one end of the extreme are people with SAD. They tend to struggle during the short dark days of winter, sometimes to the degree where they don’t want to get out of the house. At the other end are those who wake up cheerfully, rain or shine. And in-between are those with the ‘winter blues’. They manage with difficulty during the dark days and are less joyful, productive and creative than usual, but still get out of the house.
So what’s the real difference between SAD and the winter blues? The degree of dysfunction is key. People with SAD suffer setbacks as they withdraw from friends and loved ones, and are significantly unhappier. And people with the winter blues tend to manage with life’s basic demands, but with a bit of difficulty and not much motivation. But these two groups are by no means completely divided. Pile the stress on to someone with the winter blues (longer work hours, tighter deadlines, a poor performance rating) and – hey presto! – the winter blues can turn into SAD. Or a person with Sad who retires – who can therefore sleep in and take it easy – may feel better, with just a mild case of the winter blues. In other words, seasonal vulnerability varies from person to person and from one situation to another.
The good news is, whether you have SAD or the winter blues, it is possible to live an active and full life all year round – Winter, Spring, Summer or Autumn! Which is what I want to share with you today… So, here’s 5 ways you can catch feeling a bit low early and enjoy a healthy, happy winter:
1.Recognise The Problem Early signs can be small – low energy, feeling tired, wanting to sleep more, craving sugar and a lack of motivation – are all classical symptoms. Spot these signs early on and you have a good chance of knocking them on the head, quick!
2. Get More Light Your body produces Vitamin D – which helps regulate your mood. So whenever you see some sun rays outside, go for a walk on a bright winter morning! Bring more light into your home, open your curtains and have bright lighting by your bedside table. Better, get yourself one of those bedside lamps that gradually gets brighter so you wake up naturally and refreshed.
3. Move Daily I know exercise is easier said than done sometimes, especially when you don’t want to leave your toasty bed, but there’s plenty of things you can do without putting your gym kit on. Regular exercise releases your feel-good hormones and leave you feeling energised for the day. Take a walk in the park, go for a morning bike ride, walk to the shops instead of drive… those are just a few of the things you can do to get more active.
4. Relax! Winter can be a stressful time of year. Be kind to your body, do something like take a warm bath, it’ll allow your body to relax deeply and feel warm. Sometimes a bit of ‘me time’ is all we need.
5. Listen To Upbeat Music I have always thought of music as food for the soul. An upbeat tune can change an atmosphere instantly and creative a positive vibe. Put your favourite upbeat tunes on and your mood will be lifted!
There you have it! 5 ways to have a happy, healthy winter. Don’t let the blues get you down.