How to Beat the Winter Blues

As the days get shorter, it's common to feel tired, low in energy and unmotivated, and while not everyone experiences all the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), most of us wind up feeling a little groggy and zapped during the Winter months.

Now the clocks have gone back, many of us may be struggling to adjust to the colder weather and darker evenings – all those reaching for extra caffeine, jacket potatoes and sugary snacks to get you through the thick of it, say aye. You are not alone.

Fortunately, there are a few lifestyle hacks we can use to help us combat the Winter blues effectively. The bad news is, nobody’s telling us the key to Winter happiness is a sack full of doughnuts (sniff). The good news is, we DO have permission to snuggle on the sofa. You win some, you lose some. 

Let’s look at some of the best ways to brighten up your day, even when the weather outside is frightful.

1. Keep cosy

If you’re feeling that seasonal fatigue, why fight it? Wrap yourself up like a Winter burrito and don’t you dare feel guilty for it. Lay on the snacks, the films, the throws – all the things that will pick you back up again. Rest and recuperation is not to be underestimated, so nap your heart away and embrace the true meaning of hygge. 

2. Work out

working out is one of the most effective ways to reduce stress and boost your serotonin levels

When you’re already feeling demotivated, it can be hard to muster up the energy to move your body any more than is absolutely necessary but working out is one of the most effective ways to reduce stress and boost your serotonin levels (the feel-good brain chemicals). 

Dust off your trainers and get outside to top up on your light exposure or do a short burst of yoga in the comfort of your own home first thing in the morning. Your body and your mind will love you for it. 

3. Get outdoors 

Make the most of the daylight by going outside for a quick walk at lunchtime. Just a few short five-minute bursts three times a day can help boost your energy levels tenfold.

If the blue light glow of your laptop screen is as much ‘daytime’ as you’re getting right now, then considering various light therapy solutions could be an option. 

Light therapy specialists and inventors of the first wake-up light, Lumie, has been researching, designing and developing pioneering products for almost 30 years, including their SAD Desklamp. Perfect for office and home use, it boosts your mood, helps you stay on task and treats the symptoms of SAD. 

If getting up in the morning is a struggle for you at this time of year, the *Lumie Bodyclock Starter could be your new bff. 

Your body uses light cues to function and to reset your internal clock known as the circadian rhythm, which means waking up in a dark room is unlikely to make you feel refreshed first thing in the morning. 

The Lumie Bodyclock mimics the subtle light and colour changes of sunrise, waking you up naturally and gradually over 30 minutes as the clock brightens. Much better than a startling alarm, right? 

It also has a sunset mode that works in the opposite way, helping you to wind down before bed. Genius. 

4. Switch your mind-set

Winter may be cold and dark but it’s also a beautiful season full of fun and festivities

Winter may be cold and dark but it’s also a beautiful season full of fun and festivities. As soon as you focus on the opportunities rather than the limitations, it can help you to embrace the change of seasons. 

Winter gives you the opportunity to slow down – inviting you to stay in the warm, huddled round a cup of hot chocolate or mulled wine and enjoying home comforts with friends and family instead of feeling the pressure to get outside in the sun all day. Feed your mind, feed your soul and all that! 

5. Eat healthily

While we’re not the kind of people to deny you of a biscuit when you want it (have you witnessed the indulgence that is our gooey brownie recipe?), it’s all about balance. Eating enough of the right kind of food will help you keep the fatigue at bay and keep your immune system in check. Be gone common cold, be gone. 

Try eating foods that contain plenty of protein such as eggs, nuts, seeds, pulses and seafood. Leafy greens rich in B12 such as kale, spinach and broccoli can also help diminish the effects of the cold-weather blues, so throw them into a comforting bowl of soup wherever you can. 

Feeling stressed? Load up on your berries. As well as being packed with antioxidants, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries help prevent the release of the stress hormone Cortisol. Enjoy them as a light snack or pile them on top of your yogurt for a mood-boosting breakfast. 

6. Talk it out

A problem shared is a problem halved and the Winter blues are very common issue indeed. Don’t suffer in silence, talk to your friends, get the support you need and if your SAD symptoms are severe, then waste no time in consulting your GP for help. 

7. Self-love

It’s amazing what a bit of downtime can do for your wellbeing.

Stop waiting for an occasion to treat yourself. Now’s the time to take that bath you’ve been saving your festive bath bomb for, read that book you’ve been wanting to pick up for the last year, watch Harry Potter until you can’t Potter no more (said in the voice of Hagrid). It’s amazing what a bit of downtime can do for your wellbeing.

8. Make plans

It’s easy to get into the routine of rushing straight home when it’s dark and cold and letting your social life fall by the wayside but making plans with your friends and family can help give you something to look forward to and lift you out of the Winter funk. Whether it’s a gym class, a coffee date or a trip to the cinema, get that calendar popping!

What do you do this time of year to give yourself that much needed energy boost?

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