In the winter, when the days are shorter and the weather is colder, it is very easy to slip into having lower moods, feeling more irritable, more sleepy and generally not as positive and overall well as we normally would in warmer months. When these symptoms get to their most serious it is referred to as “Seasonal Effective Disorder”. This experience, even in its milder forms, comes about because of changes in light intensity, length of daylight and its relationship to lower levels of Vitamin D exposure. Most people aren’t aware of why they are feeling down at this time of year, but one of the first things that can help, is to recognise that you are feeling different.
Over the last several years, I have noticed in relation to my increased awareness of anxiety, that I also experience particular changes in my mood and overall sense of well-being during the wintery months. There are a few things you can do that might help you feel a little brighter and get through the winter months without feeling as grey as the sky outside.
So as the days get colder and darker for those of us going into the Autumn and Winter months, take some time to plan ahead before those Winter blues kick in and hopefully you will have a more cheerful and positive Winter season.
- Choose to surround yourself with brighter, more positive colours. My personal preferences are summery colours and patterns, which I incorporate into my clothing choices and even hair colour to help me feel more summery.
- Create a hibernating environment where your living space or bedroom becomes your cozy cocoon to return to after a day out in the cold and wet. This can include warm lighting, candles, the use of warm scents like cloves and cinnamon.
- Keeping your diet healthy with as much diversity of nutrients and flavours as possible, but particularly including as much Omega strand fatty acids and Vitamin D in your diet as possible (if you feel you have severe effects of winter blues or SAD you may be able to get Vitamin D prescriptions from a Doctor).
- Maintain a regular exercise routine. This could be dancing around the house, yoga, running, gym sessions, whatever works. The main thing is to keep your blood flowing, your body moving and the endorphins being released into your body on a regular basis (there are scientific links between inactive bodies and less happy minds).
- Enjoy opportunities to socialize in a safe and comfortable environment. This is where having a cozy living space is a great plus for gathering a few friends to bring some light and liveliness into our routines.
- Find opportunities to bring laughter into your day, whether that involves talking with friends or family who can make you laugh, or by watching funny movies or videos (laughter helps us relax and is also a good part of exercising as it burns calories when we have a good belly laugh).