At this time of year, we feel less energetic, more apathetic and we sleep longer. We feel down, emotionally and mentally drained even though the clocks have not yet gone back. This is what we call “The Winter Blues”. Although October is generally a mild time of year, for many people, the winter blues will already be setting in. Also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, it affects most people in different ways and there are simple things you can do to combat it.
Please note that if you are depressed, you should seek professional medical advice. Winter Blues is that feeling of sluggishness and apathy associated with the seasonal change.
In the spring and summer, the increasing temperature and sunlight provides that much needed energy boost to keep us active. In the autumn and winter, that energy is gone. It’s a well-documented fact that exercise boosts the mood. The brain releases certain chemicals that provide a general feeling of euphoria. Have you ever wondered why the average marathon runner is smiling at the end of a race? That’s chemistry in action. You don’t have to run a marathon though. Any form of exercise increases your energy and your mood.
Make the Most of the Daylight
One of the reasons for low mood at this time of year is the lower levels of sunlight. Sunshine is vital for Vitamin D production. Without Vitamin D, we get ill easier and our mood suffers both directly (from lack of sunlight) and indirectly (from the increases instances of illness). In the summer, health experts advise us to avoid sunlight at noon due to sunburn risk. In the autumn and winter, this is the ideal time to get your Vitamin D boost.
A Good Diet
Ensuring you get your full range of vitamins and minerals, cutting back on the fatty foods and sugars is good advice at any time of year. In the autumn and winter, we crave heavier foods because our bodies use more energy to keep warm. You will crave meat and pasta for the energy. It’s important that you control this craving and balance it with plenty of fruit and vegetables throughout the day. Maybe even go for a walk before or after Sunday lunch and you’ll feel good for the rest of the day.
Natural Alarm Clocks
Part of the reason most of us feel groggy is because it is dark when we get up in the morning and dark when we get home. In the warmer months, we practically leap out of bed. But when it’s cold, dark and wet and we have to go to work, that’s not exactly the best start to the day. Some find they wake more easily when they use a natural alarm clock. These devices slowly light up in the hour up to needing to rise for the start of the day. The idea is to mimic the sunrise and so make you feel less groggy when the audio alarm goes off.
Loneliness increases in the autumn and winter. It’s easy to avoid going out when it is cold, dark and wet, but now is the ideal time to get out and meet people – new friends and existing friends. With nothing better to do in the evenings, a night class is a great way to learn a new skill and meet new people. Combine your fitness regime and socialising by signing up for an exercise class.
Regulate Body Temperature
Research suggests that feeling cold decreases mood. Feeling warm helps us to feel cosy and protected. It’s one of the reasons a hot bath feels so indulgent. You don’t need to spend a lot of money heating your home either. The cosiness of a blanket wrapping around you while relaxing in the evening can help improve general mood. Invest in a good pair of slippers and a bathrobe for the mornings and the evenings too.