As the days draw shorter and temperatures drop, many of us may experience the winter blues.
This affects many people and can involve:
• Feeling lethargic
• Down or low
• Difficulties with your sleep (whether that be sleeping too much or not enough)
• Losing interest in things you usually enjoy
• Isolating yourself from those around you
• Changes in your appetite
Here we explore some ideas and tips to support your mood during the winter months.
- Natural daylight – try and enjoy the natural daylight as much as you can, especially on brighter days and during the middle of the day. You could go for a walk or sit by the window, for example. You could also consider light therapy by investing in a light box. These provide a stronger light than ordinary lighting. Dawn simulators can also help by mimicking a natural sunrise, waking you up gradually.
- Keeping warm can reduce the winter blues. Do this by eating hot foods, drinking hot drinks, wearing warm shoes and clothes, and try and keep your home between 18 to 21 degrees.
- Try something new – taking up a new hobby can keep your mind active and gives you something to look forward to and concentrate on.
- Your support network – socialising with friends and family can boost your mood. Start by planning in small things that will feel manageable for you at the moment.
- Get active – physical activity causes chemical changes in your brain, improving your mood as well as boosting your self-esteem. Going for a 1-hour walk during the midday can be as helpful as light therapy.
- Healthy eating – improving your diet can improve your mood and energy levels. Make sure you’re eating regularly to keep your blood sugar levels stable, stay hydrated, eat 5 fruit and vegetables a day, ensure you’re consuming enough protein, and monitor your caffeine intake and the impact this has on your mood.
- Get help – there are a number of different types of support available to help you manage these symptoms. At Wellspring Counselling, we have counselling available for both adults and young people, and Low-Intensity Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for young people. You can also speak to your GP for other treatment and support options.