We’re headed to that time of year, when the nights draw in, the days get shorter and seems like sunshine, lovely warm weather and holidays are a million miles away. This is when we start to feel the ‘Winter blues’, or seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
This is common and it can affect people of any age, including children. If you think this might be about to happen to you and yours, try some of these tips, they could help!
Staying fit and active is key to fending off the SAD, as exercise releases all those happy hormones; endorphins, dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin these are the quartet responsible for our happiness. When we exercise these hormones are naturally released!
So make the most of those winter months by keeping up with your exercise routine and resist the urge to hibernate!
1. Keep active
A daily walk in the middle of the day could be as helpful as light treatment for coping with the winter blues. Often the warmest and brightest part of the day, if you can, get out, breathe and just take a few minutes to appreciate your surroundings! Weekends make the time to get out, especially with the kids, wrap up warm if you need to, or in wet weather gear. Take a football, or cycle, but get out and play together! Encourage your kids to take up football, or hockey or rugby!
2. Get outside
Go outdoors in natural daylight as much as possible, especially at midday and on brighter days. Inside your home, choose pale colours that reflect light from outside, and sit near windows whenever you can. Plus some of the suggestions from above!
3. Keep warm
Being cold may make you feel more depressed, so staying warm may reduce the winter blues.
Keep warm with hot drinks and hot food. Wear warm clothes and shoes, and aim to keep your home between 18C and 21C (or 64F and 70F degrees).
4. Eat healthily
A healthy diet will boost your mood, give you more energy and stop you putting on weight over winter. Balance your craving for carbohydrates, such as pasta and potatoes, with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Remember good healthy substitutes such as sweet potato, butternut squash and wholegrain rice, if you’re feeling like you need some ‘comfort’ food. Beans and pulses are great for making winter warming soups too!
5. Take up a new fitness hobby
It could be anything, such as playing badminton, squash, joining a gym, swimming, cycling in the great outdoors!
6. Stay social
It's been shown that socialising is good for your mental health and helps ward off the winter blues. So find yourself a workout buddy and head to some of my classes, which are always warm and welcoming and you will feel a glow once you’re workout has been completed and may even make some new friends.
7. Vitamin D
If you feel the lack of sunshine means you’re lacking in Vitamin D, try a supplement (talk to your doctor first). Vitamin D is responsible for maintaining the health of bones and teeth. It supports the health of the immune system, brain, and nervous system, particularly important as we head to a season which can be rife with bugs! It also regulates insulin levels and aids diabetes management, very important if you’re looking to be trim. And it supports lung function and cardiovascular health, again essential as you take up any new sporting hobbies during this autumn and winter!
And if you needed any extra encouragement to use exercise as you ‘beat the winter blues’ too, as a bonus, by staying fit and active during the autumn and winter months, means you’ll be ahead of the game when it comes to reaching those ‘swimsuit’ ready goals you may have!! You’ll have continued to make progress whilst others have slumbered!