As the days shorten and the weather gets grimmer, I notice my moods darken with it.
I blame this on being more of a summer girl. Yeah- I’ve not Northern blood, but there’s also a fair amount of Greek in there and I really feel the cold. Any sense of trying to look nice goes straight out the window in winter- I’ve even gone as far as donning my ski jacket around London when the weather has got properly horrible.
Turns out it’s not just me though. The winter blues have even been given an official title- Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – cited to be a depressive mood displayed by people, who are normally perfectly fine, at the same time each year.
But whether you’re full scale SAD or just a bit miffed at summer coming and going so quickly (again), I’ve found my hacks that can help beat those winter blues…
- Wake up naturally
One of the worst things I find about winter is struggling to wake up on those dark mornings…I’m not a morning person at the best of times. Then a friend recommended an alarm clock that mimics sunrise. By recreating a natural sunrise, these alarm clocks gradually wake your body up, making waking up much more pleasant that the usual screech of the alarm followed by being plunged into the dark morning. Despite not being a morning person, this alarm brings my groggy level down from a solid 10/10 to a workable 4/10 (I promised you progress- not miracles). Still don’t believe me? The Lumie is actually a certified medical device designed to help with winter blues. Bring on the fake sunrise….
2. Go on holiday
I know this sounds a cop out, but hear me out. Typically, we focus on the idea of a ‘summer holiday’. But if you really don’t like winter, it seems counterintuitive to leave at the peak of the (debatably) ‘best’ weather. So instead of planning that summer getaway, I’ve started to make sure I leave time for a winter break. Trust me- leaving the dark gloomy weather and escaping to a sunshine paradise feels so much more satisfying. My favourite times are November (because the weather has just got terrible but I can’t get excited for Christmas yet) or end of January/February (because winter feels like it will never end).
Still struggling to justify it? We started to Air BnB our flat when we go away. If you think about it, you’re basically getting paid to get in the sun. Win win.
3. Keep social
I’ll be honest. All I really want to do is curl on the couch with a bag of choc, a hot drink, in my pyjamas and watch a film. All the time. All through winter. And while that’s okay every now and again, what I’ve found is much more effective (and much better at beating those winter blues) is actually staying social. Dragging your arse out of pyjamas and getting out will help you stay happier (and more sane) in those dark months.
And if you really can’t face getting out of those PJ’s (or ski gear…) at least invite your friend round to do it with you.
4. Up your intake of Vitamin D
Your body can actually store Vitamin D, but sadly not enough to get us through the winter months. As well braving the cold to get outside, we can also absorb vitamin D through our diet, so make sure you fill your diet with Vitamin D rich sources because dosing up in winter has been also been scientifically proven to improve mood. Mushrooms and fatty fish (think Tuna, Salmon & Mackerel) are great sources. Not a mushroom or fish fan? I also use a tasty Vitamin D spray that give you that Vitamin boost without chowing down bowls of mushroom and mackerel soup.
5. Buy yourself some flowers
Bring back some summer into your house with a gorgeous bunch of flowers. Not only will they remind you of summer, they’ll smell like it to….And they’ll make you smile very time you see them.
6. Move your arse
Yeah. I get it. Dragging yourself to the gym in the pitch black isn’t the most appealing thought. And again, it involves getting out of pyjamas- doubly unappealing. And I know it’s been said a million times before, but it really does help your mood. As Lena Dunham said- ‘It ain’t about the Ass, it’s about the brain’. Getting that blood bumping, those limbs moving and those endorphins flowing with leave you feeling much better. If you can’t face the early morning sessions in the dark, try practising some yoga at home before work, heading to the gym at lunch, or smashing a YouTube video work out post work. By not having to go out of your way you’re much less likely to make excuses not to go.
7. Have a laugh
Not only does having a good giggle feel good, it does you good. Where do you begin? It decreases stress hormones, releases endorphins and increases immune cells to ward of that winter cold. Plus, you know, its fun. Catch up with friends, find a good stand up show (there’s a great free one in Angel if you live in London @ The Camden Head) or find that film/series that gets you going. My favourite at the moments is Impractical Jokers. 20 minute episodes of nothing short of immature jokes on unsuspecting members of the public. Think Borat pre-watershed.