How to take away the winter blues

Winter can be a tough time of year, with its colder weather and shorter, darker days. For many people, these long, wintry months can lead to fatigue, lack of motivation, sleep disruption and changes in mood.

These symptoms typically relate to the winter blues, a common affliction that effects thousands of people every year. Working from home, not getting outdoors, or commuting in the dark means many people do not spend any time in the sun.

The good news is, the winter blues are temporary and a few simple lifestyle changes can help anyone beat them. So, here are our tips to help banish those winter blues.

Food can lift your mood

What we put in our bodies can have a huge impact not only on our physical health, but our mental health too. Consuming protein with breakfast, lunch, and dinner has been proven to improve mood and crucially prevent those sugar and carb cravings.

Lack of Vitamin D in winter is a common problem due to lack of sunlight exposure, the main source of Vitamin D. Researchers have discovered that people with depression usually have low vitamin D levels.

It’s important therefore, to introduce foods into your diet that are high in vitamin D, such as fatty fish, red meat and egg yolks. Vitamin D fortified foods like milk, orange juice, breakfast cereal and yoghurt are also a good source.

Get Active

Physical activity has been proven to boost mood, decrease the symptoms of depression, and reduce stress. Getting outside every day, even for a just few minutes, can have a huge impact on mood.

However, during the cold winter months even the most dedicated athletes can find it hard to get out the front door. Not only that, extreme weather can stop us stepping outside and disrupts our exercise routines, plus dark days can provide safety issues for some.

From joining a gym, an exercise group or utilising your lunch break, there are lots of ways to make sure you stay active. The key is to start small and you’ll soon be reaping the physical and mental benefits.

Watching Sports

This is possibly the easiest way to lift your mood and get you through the dark winter months. We all know playing sport is a great way to keep fit, but watching sport also has its health benefits.

Sports can offer a welcome distraction or escape from normal life and take our minds off the plummeting temperatures outside. They provide spectators with positive emotions, create connections with friends and family, reduce stress as well as feelings of loneliness.

Luckily winter time is a great time for sporting action with lots of huge events available to watch. The Beijing Winter Olympics runs from the 4th – 20th February 2022 and is sure to inspire and motivate anyone who watches it.

Closer to home, the NBA and NHL continue with games coming thick and fast. While the NFL reaches its climax on 13th February 2022, with Super Bowl LVI at the SoFi Stadium, Los Angeles.

Before that happens, there’s the small matter of the NFL playoffs which never fail to throw up plenty of nail-biting action. With so many teams looking like strong contenders this year, it promises to be closer than ever according to the latest NFL playoffs odds.

Can the Buffalo Bills win their first ever Vince Lombardi trophy after four straight Super Bowl losses in the 90’s? Or will Arizona Cardinals finally deliver and end the longest Super Bowl drought in history stretching all the way back to 1947?

Turn off the News

Spending more time indoors in winter usually means more screen time. That can also lead to more exposure to the constant news cycle, which rarely promotes good news or happy stories to the public.

Reducing time spent watching the news will reduce stress and anxiety. Not only that, a reduction in screen time generally, be it smart phone, tv or tablet, will reap physical and mental health benefits.

Spend time with friends and family

It’s been proven that socialising is good for your mental health and helps ward off the winter blues. Making an effort to keep in touch with friends and family is important all year round but especially in winter.

Sometimes it can feel like a real effort to socialise, especially when the weather is bad and it’s dark outside. But humans need social contact and the importance of family and friends is not to be underestimated.

Take up a new hobby

Many people view the winter months as something to get through as they wait for spring to arrive. But there’s no reason not to use your time in a positive way and take up a new hobby or interest.

Keeping an active mind helps ward off the winter blues by providing a welcome distraction. It might be knitting, running, singing, writing a blog, baking, it doesn’t matter, as long as it provides you with something to focus on and look forward to.

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