It’s that time of year again, when many of us simply want to don our favourite woolly socks, curl up under the blanket, order take in and declare a new decree – ‘thou shalt not have to go outside unless the sun is shining!’
Even researchers agree that our moods and emotions can vary depending on changes in season and how much light or sun exposure we receive. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), otherwise known as the winter blues.
If you’re someone who’s already worried about the temperature dropping and shorter and darker days, read on.
Eat A Healthy Diet
What you eat can have an immense impact on your mood, energy levels and overall wellbeing. This winter, try and base your diet on plenty of wholefoods and natural ingredients including vegetables, whole grains, fruit and protein and avoid refined or highly processed food, like biscuits, chips and even pre-packaged muesli bars. Although these snacks may seem cheaper and more convenient at the time, they’re often full of sugar and low in nutrients and can lead to unstable blood sugar levels, mood swings and a lack of sustenance to see you through the day. Save your body the effort of trying to process preservatives and chemicals and enjoy a brighter mood and longer lasting energy by choosing the healthier foods options this winter. Think of filling, nutritious meals such as soups, casseroles, oats, stir fries and curries.
Load up on Antioxidants
Consuming foods rich in antioxidants helps to support a strong immune system which may prevent the feeling of being worn out. Opting for a diet rich in nutrients and colour containing antioxidants may help to reduce free radical activity which can cause oxidative stress.
Get Enough Sleep
When the days get shorter and there’s a lack of light and sunshine around it’s natural to crave more rest and sleep. Listen to your body and try and make sure you get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. This will allow your body to recharge so you feel rejuvenated the next day and don’t wake up in a winter fog searching for the snooze button.
Short naps can give you a fresh burst of energy, improve your mood and help with your concentration levels and overall motivation for the rest of the day.
Doing something physical, whether it’s a morning walk, a spin class after work or a gentle yoga session over the weekend is sure to not only warm you up by getting your blood pumping, but even a short bout of exercise will increase your endorphin levels, like serotonin, and leave you feeling more positive, refreshed and energised. If you’re time poor, stay active by getting off the bus a stop early, choosing the stairs over the lift and making sure you stand up out of your chair at work to regularly stretch out your legs.
They say that laughter can be the best medicine sometimes and there might be not be any better time than winter to heed that advice. Even when it’s cold and raining outside, try not to choose the couch over catching up with friends and family. Human interaction and socialising with your nearest and dearest also boosts your endorphin levels and will leave you feeling happier and more positive.