There's nothing we can do about the cold, dark mornings & nights - but there is plenty we can do to help ourselves adjust.
Banish the winter blues ❄️
The temperature has dropped, the weather is becoming more gloomy and the light filled days are getting shorter and shorter.
That means waking up in the dark and, for most of us, ending our working day in the dark - with little time or opportunity for sunlight exposure inbetween. And with that, some of us start to struggle with our mental health and wellbeing.
Whilst feeling low is never a nice feeling, it is okay to feel this way and talk about it. Adjusting your routine to the increasing demands of the winter months is a great way to proactively look out for your mental wellbeing.
To help, we’ve put together some tips on how to combat the dark days this winter - and look on the bright side instead!
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) 🌅
For some, feeling low and struggling during the winter months is more than just feeling a little ‘meh’ when winter edges in.
SAD is a type of depression that comes with the change of the seasons. It typically starts in late Autumn and continues through to Winter. This is because the fewer hours of sunlight available, the lower levels of happy chemicals released in the brain.
Symptoms of SAD include low mood, tiredness and changes in appetite. You can help to mitigate the symptoms of SAD by enjoying regular exercise, eating a well-balanced diet and socialising, but it’s always best to speak to a doctor if you’re worried.
The good news is that for those of use with SAD, the light is always at the end of the tunnel - it's just a case of managing as best we can until the inevitable change of seasons once more.
Tips to brighten your mood during the winter months 🤗
A huge part of SAD or not feeling ourselves at this time of year is not being able to continue with our usual routines, because a lack of daylight is so restrictive to doing so.
Sure it's possible to enjoy dinner in the garden, go for an evening jog or reconnect with nature during winter - but the lack of daylight and plunging temperatures make that far less practical and accessible!
Here are some simple suggestions for healthy habits to help you adjust to a new winter routine.
Keep doing things! 💃
Just because the nights are drawing in doesn’t mean you have to cease all activities and hide away.
Keep doing something you love, or find something new to do. It will give you something to look forward to and provide a welcome distraction to the gloomy atmosphere of winter.
- Find a new sport (preferably indoors!)
- Take up an evening course
- Buy a crafting kit
- Dance to your favourite music
- Try out some new comfort food recipes
Whatever it is, make sure it is something you love!
Get outside 🌳
It doesn’t need to be bright and sunny to get yourself outside. Personally, we love wrapping up and heading outdoors to enjoy a crisp, sunshine-y winter's morning.
See it as an opportunity to embrace all weather and, if safe to do so, go for a walk when it’s dark and/or rainy.
Not only will this lift your mood but it will also boost your energy levels, and help to resolve any aches & pains from sitting in hibernation all day!
You can learn more about the benefits of getting outside in our blog post below.
Stay connected 🤝
It's natural to lose touch with friends and family at this time of year compared to the summer months. After all, it's far more appealing to make some fun plans when the sun is shining and inviting you out.
But it's so important to keep talking. To friends, to family, to colleagues and even to a therapist if you feel like it.
Talking and keeping in contact with other people is crucial for our mental health and overall wellbeing - us humans are social animals and weren't designed to live in isolation.
If you work from home, why not organise a call with a colleague to enjoy a virtual coffee break and catch up?
Brighten up your space 🪴
Bring the sunshine in! Making your personal space bright, comfortable and airy is a great way to boost your mood when you're lacking natural sunlight.
Try to keep on top of any clutter so that you have room to breathe - a tidy home makes for a tidy mind after all.
When it does start to get dark earlier than we'd like, get cosy with twinkling fairy lights and scented candles.
Houseplants are a great addition to your home too, to bring some of the outside in, stay connected with nature and even help to purify the air we breathe.
Embrace a bedtime routine 😴
Going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day (even on weekends) helps to regulate our Circadian rhythm.
This makes for better sleep quantity and quality, as well as having some powerful benefits for our mood, emotions, energy levels and immunity.
Read a book, have a bath, sip on your Coco Dream, write in your journal, meditate, or listen to music - just relax and enjoy the moment for self-care.
Take advantage of the colder nights and get cosy. Find your favourite nighttime routine, whatever it is!
Eat & drink well 🥑
It's all too easy to enjoy comfort food and treats at this time of year - and there's nothing wrong with that. But remember the importance of nutrition and getting those mood-boosting nutrients that help you to function best.
Staying hydrated is super important too. When we're asleep we don't get a drop of water for 6-7 hours, or 8+ if you're lucky!
So it's important to start the day with some fluids - whether that's your morning smoothie, some fresh fruit juice or simply a glass of water. Add a scoop of Clean Greens, Balance Tonic or Berry Beauty to get your day off to the best possible start.
Try to have lots of healthy snacks to hand to, so that you can avoid energy dips - as nutrients from food help us to feel more energised and awake. Rheal Energy Bars are perfect for enjoying on the go or between meals, with a natural caffeine boost to perk you up too.
Learn more about the food-brain connection in our blog post below.
It's not always fun and it's not always easy, but getting through the mentally challenging winter months is more than possible - and can even be enjoyable. Time is precious so let's do all we can to enjoy this season and focus on the good things it has to offer! 🍁🎃🎄🎆