Tips to combat the winter blues

| December 2, 2015 | 0 Comments

It’s December and winter is truly upon us. Although we’ve been lucky with the mild temperatures so far, it’s inevitably going to get colder and more miserable now. Come January, and springtime will feel a long way off.

With the darker days and colder weather, it’s not surprising that so many of us get an attack of the winter blues – even if it’s not always severe enough to be diagnosed as SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Characterised by a lack of motivation, low energy levels and mild depression, the winter blues are a common phenomenon.

But don’t worry, if you’re already feeling down because of winter, there are ways to shake away the blues and get to feeling back to normal. Also, if you’re lucky enough not to have reached a low ebb yet, following some of these suggestions should ensure you stay bright and breezy all through the winter.

It's not uncommon to find that the winter feels bleak and depressing

It’s not uncommon to find that the winter feels bleak and depressing

Seek out the sunshine

While there may not be that much sun around during winter, just making the most of the daylight we have can make a big difference to how you feel. Open the blinds fully, reposition your desk so you’re by the window and bask in the warmth of the sun when it does come out.

Clear your mind

Many people cite meditation as an effective way to deal with anxiety and stress. For a beginner, it can be helpful to follow guided meditation routines as they help you to stay focused and learn how to block out distracting thoughts. There are many different guides to meditation online.

Some people find meditating too difficult to master, in which case an exercise such as yoga might be a better choice. With yoga, you spend so much time focusing on mastering each pose or move that you quickly forget about any worries or concerns, and consequently reach a level of meditation through the yoga. It’s also very relaxing and all the deep breathing that you do during yoga can be really effective in helping achieve a sense of calm.

Avoid comfort foods

You may see winter as a great excuse to drink those hot chocolates with cream and marshmallows on the top, and to indulge in some serious evening snacking because it’s too cold and dark to go out. While comfort foods may make you feel good as you eat them, they can actually make you feel sluggish and unmotivated. Instead, choose healthy meals that include plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables as well as whole grains – all of which will help boost your energy levels. Also, drink plenty of water to counter the dehydrating effects of the central heating.

Exercise in the fresh air

Exercising outdoors in winter is a great way to lift your spirits

Exercising outdoors in winter is a great way to lift your spirits

by  smith_cl9 

Winter may not seem the best time to take up a new sport, but actually, once you get warmed up and moving, you’ll probably find it’s more energising to exercise in the cold of winter than in the stuffy heat of summer. Studies have shown that exercise can relieve stress and anxiety, and reduce feelings of fatigue. If you don’t want to play a sport per se, then find a friend who will go running with you once or twice a week. Making the commitment to go with another person will make both of you feel more obliged to go – as you won’t want to let the other person down. It also makes the run more fun as you’ll have some company. If running seems like too big a step, then agree to go on brisk walks instead.

Taking a positive and active approach to keeping the winter blues at bay is the best way forward, and it’ll have a beneficial effect on your health and fitness too.

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