There’s a definite something in the air that might be winter…. 🙁
But fear not…that means chunky knits, cosy tights, hot water bottles, and open fires along with lots of other lovely things.
I definitely find peoples moods are affected by the lack of sunlight and just generally shorter days during the winter so with that in mind i’m going to share some tips to help you with the winter blue. Winter should be enjoyed not endured!
Firstly try and get outside on your lunch break. This is especially important during the winter time as a lot of the time we can be heading to and from work in the pitch dark. Not only does this affect our mood it also affects our bodies ability to make Vitamin D.
Vitamin D is produced naturally in the body when our skin is exposed to the sun and research has shown that low levels of Vitamin D can affect mood. Vitamin D is also really important for bone health. It might not feel like you are getting any sunshine at all but 10-15 minutes a few times a week can make all the difference.
Secondly if you are prone to low mood and especially if you have darker skin (which will increase your need for Vitamin D) consider a Vitamin D supplement. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin which means our body can store it however stores can be depleted over the winter months. Taking Vitamin D3 drops in water everyday can help keep levels at an optimum.
Exercise daily. It can be difficult to keep up a routine when the weather is getting worse and the days are getting shorter but daily exercise helps us release endorphins which of course help lift our mood.
If you are stuck in a rut consider a new exercise regime. Start a new course of classes in your gym or engage with a workout buddy to help keep you motivated. If you are really finding it difficult start with something small like getting out to stretch your legs on your lunch break. You can put a daily meeting in with a friend/colleague to make sure you both get out for some well deserved air.
It’s soup season…it can be easy to start piling on the pounds during the winter especially when all we want is comfort carbs but the reality of it is putting on extra pounds will do nothing for our mood.
Use winter as an opportunity to have some real comforting food that will nourish you aswell. Porridge (full of fibre), stewed fruit (especially apples are great for digestion), soups packed full of vegetables (full of vitamins and minerals) and beans and pulses (for protein) and slow cooked casseroles are all great options and will provide all the comfort that you need.
The great thing about winter food aswell is that they can all be prepared well in advance. There are lots of slow cooker recipes for casseroles that you can prepare the night before and leave on a slow heat overnight and if you have leftovers these can be easily adapted by adding frozen veg or adding more stock to make a soup.
See people…it may sound obvious but its so easy to just want to go into hibernation mode when the weather is poor. If you are finding that you are struggling with your mood make a plan at the start of the week to see people.
Committing to people and events at the start of the week will make it much more difficult for you to cancel plans and seeing people and taking yourself out of your normal daily routine will do wonders to lift your mood.
Try to keep the same sleep schedule. It can be tempting to oversleep when its not so nice outside but keeping a good sleep schedule can help keep you on the straight and narrow and ensure you are getting some well needed sunlight during the day.
Try to avoid caffeine after 6 to ensure your sleep is not interfered with. There are lots of sleep conduicive herbal tea combinations available that are very comforting such as my personal favourite Pukka Sleep. Also consider essential oils like lavender before bed time.
Wear a bright colour….don’t you just equate black with winter?! Don’t get me wrong I love black but I do find that wearing a bright colour can instantly lift my mood. If you do like black and are out winter coat shopping consider a brighter coloured coat which can at least hide some of the black!
Consider a mood diary. Take note of how you are feeling on a day to day basis. This can even just be a quick note that you take on your phone.
If you find your mood is consistently low and does not seem to be lifting talk to someone you trust. You might find that just talking about how you feel will improve your mood or you can consider other actions such as talking to a professional at that stage.
I hope some of these tips help you and here’t to a lovely and (hopefully) not so long winter 🙂