· By Claudia Hawkins
Top tips to help fight the winter blues
5 tips to help cure the winter blues
Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD as it's quite aptly known can affect any of us to varying degrees at this time of year. The temperature has dropped, the days are shorter and many struggle to maintain a happy, healthy mindset. But don't worry, you're not alone in feeling a little glum right now and there is plenty you can do to help. So here are a few of our go-to tips to brighten your mood and keep those winter blues at bay.
While there is nothing wrong with comfort food, and big heavy meals are often just what the doctor ordered, especially on cold winter nights. It is important to make sure you don’t miss out on vegetables, fruit, and lean proteins. Over the past couple of years, studies have shown a strong relationship between diet and mental health. Research suggests a Mediterranean-style diet made up of fruits, vegetables, extra-virgin olive oil, yogurt and cheese, nuts, whole grains, seafood and lean red meat leads to a healthy mind and body. So keep an eye on your body, eat your greens and maintain that balance.
One common symptom of SAD is a lack of energy meaning that overwhelming urge to pull the duvet back over and stay in bed comes creeping in. However, exercise is proven to help improve your mood and how you function mentally. So, if you notice you're less active than usual, try integrating some more movement into your routine. Walk the dog, go for a stroll on your lunch break, even just a couple of cat cows before bed, move ya bod, it helps!
Spend time by a cosy fire:
Sounds like an odd one but itting by a fire decreases blood pressure and helps you relax. The warmth, the crackling sounds, the smoky smell, and light of a fire helps soothe and comfort, especially when it is cold. If you don't have a fire to crank up, im sure your local country pub does (2 birds one stone right?)
Although there's not a lot of conclusive research into the causes of SAD. It is strongly believed that the lack of sunlight in winter has something to do with it. Sun affects the part of the brain called the hypothalamus which is the part that controls serotonin and melatonin production as well as our internal clock. So as tempting as it is to hide away and hibernate, try and get yourself outside into that illusive winter sun when possible, that Vitamin D will work wonders.
With the last point in mind, you may have seen or heard of SAD lamps before, especially helpful for the working from homers, these canny little light boxes simulate the aforementioned missing sunlight. It's thought the light may improve SAD by encouraging your brain to reduce the production of melatonin (the hormone that makes you sleepy) and increase the production of serotonin (the hormone that affects your mood).
Nostalgia, reminiscing on lovely times and manifesting happy feels are the best mood boosters. So don't let those winter blues get you down, look at pics of someone that makes you smile, day dream about your favourite holiday ever or look forward to fun times ahead with friends.
Scent is a fantastic way to conjure up good memories and in turn good feelings. One spritz of your favourite fragrance can take you right back to that beach holiday, summer festival, or joyous family reunion. Stock up on your fave fragrance today and make sure those happy thoughts are always only one spray away.
These are just our tips to help you brighten the winter blues. If you are finding things particularly hard, please contact a professional or your local GP.