Thursday 7 October 2021

5 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues

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The tree's have begun turning a beautiful amber shade, the wind has a crisp, cold freshness to it and the darker evenings are drawing in. All of this can only mean one thing, autumn and winter are on there way and bringing with it a host of exciting days such as Halloween and Christmas to look forward to. But it also brings colder, wetter weather, less daytime light and sun as well as a lots of issues for many, including the winter blues. 

Many of us will find our mood decline as the winter months creep in and this can be for a number of reasons such as less sun, cold wet weather or just a lack of motivation due to the changes happening. Having the winter blues can make you feel sad during the autumn/winter months, they can leave you struggling to sleep and also with a lack of motivation to carry out routine tasks like cleaning your home or running errands.  

However it is important to mention that sometimes what we think are winter blues can actually be something different called SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Some of the symptoms of SAD can mimic those of winter blues but it is important to recognise if your feelings are more severe or debilitating than those that might indicate winter blues. For example if you are experience sever sadness during the winter/autumn months, regular sleep and eating issues and depression that effects your day to day life. If you do think you may be experiencing symptoms of SAD rather than winter blues, it is really important to seek some advice from a doctor or medical professional. 

However today I am sharing some tips below on how you can help beat those winter blues and feel a little happier during the colder months ahead...

Get Cosy and Warm

Chuck those fans back up in the loft and pack the paddling pool away, instead pull out those cosy blankets, chunky knits and fire pits! Being cold is always going to bring down your mood and leave you feeling sad and uncomfortable so creating a warm, cosy space to relax in is key. Just imagine coming home from outside and snuggling up in warm blankets, fluffy pjs and warm hot chocolates, bliss right? 

Knowing you have a warm and cosy space to enjoy helps to lift our mood and this can be even more important if you work outdoors, in a cold office space or have to commute in the winter weather. Some of my favourite things to use to create a cosy space is oversized blankets, chunky knits, fluffy rugs and candles, candles and more candles as they create such a cost atmosphere. You could also have a hot water bottle to hand for really cold days or invest in a heated blanket to ensure your bed is warm ready for you to slip into.

Take Daily Supplements

If you feel your mood dipping it could be that you are lacking in some vitamins or minerals as well as because of the time of year. There are so many different types of vitamins and supplements on the market now so it is important to do a bit of research first and work out which ones may work for you. However many people find that a typical vitamin they are lacking during winter is Vitamin D and lacking in this can definitely affect your mood. 

We usually get most of our Vitamin D from food such as fish, fish oil, milk, orange juice and other items as well as of course from the sun. If you think you might be deficient in vitamin D, taking a daily supplement could really help boost your mood. You could also try taking a daily multivitamin instead if you would prefer.

Be a Sun seeker

Now this might seem like a strange thing to say, given we are talking about winter. However whilst the wet, windy days may make up the majority of the winter there are still some days where the sun is out, even if you can't feel the warmth from it. On days that are dry it is really important to try and get outside and soak up that vitamin D that the sun provides up. You will of course need a coat as it will still be cold but you can still reap the benefits of being outside in the fresh, crisp air and all the benefits the sun has to offer.  

Games, Books and Puzzles

With less days trips, holidays or events planned during winter months you might find yourself say at home twiddling your thumbs. And whilst some down time is good for us, too much can lead to boredom which in turn effects our mood. Whilst you might not want to be heading outside why not find something fun to immerse yourself into from the warmth of your own home. Find a new book to read, perhaps from the library as the trip will be a good excuse to get out of the house even when you don't feel like it? 

There are also games and puzzles that are not only great fun but some can get our brains working and thinking too. Online games are a cheap, often free way of enjoying a variety of games such as card games, classics like pac man or some newer but super popular games such as Candy House which is one of my personal favourites. Candy House is a super easy game which doesn't require too much concentration but is lots of fun. Its just a case of matching different candy but you can earn different rewards within the game and its quite a accomplished feeling seeing yourself moving up the levels too.

Try to Fit in Some Exercise

When you look outside and see darkness or cold blustery winds it can be hard to find any motivation at all to want to get outside and exercise. But exercising can actually help increase our feel-good brain chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, and endorphins. This could be a walk or jog, a gym session or even some home workouts if you really don't want to leave the house. There are lots of workout classes online, free to use workout videos or DVD's you can purchase. You could even try some yoga or Pilates in front of a large window to get some of that sunlight on you too if its a nice day! 

Personally I find using something like a fitness watch can really help me stay track as they can show the progress you are making, offer motivational suggestions and even help you track your exercise, water and food intake. You can find funky Fitbit Straps or if you own an Apple watch you can find the most stylish selection of replacement wristbands to suit your style and personality too so you can really make the watch your own. 

As I mentioned above, if you think your feelings may be more than "winter blues" please do seek some help and advice as it could be Seasonal Affective Dis
order and there are lots of additional things you can do to help alleviate and help symptoms of this. 

If you feel your mental health and overall sense of wellbeing diminishing, then please do ask for help. For those of you who are finding it hard to leave your homes, or to talk to your friends and family, you can always get honest, professional online counselling and phone therapy. Speaking to someone new might go a long way to helping you feel better and understanding why your mental health is suffering.

Please do let me know in the comments below how you feel as winter comes round and if there is anything you do to help you combat the signs of the winter blues. 


**This is a collaborative post.**

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