It’s a fact that winter brings shorter, colder and darker days. The winter season can be long and sometimes depressing. Winter gloom can have an effect on our physical and mental health. It is that time of the year where we can struggle to beat off colds and flus as well as struggle to keep ourselves bright and happy.
But there are some ways to feel better and thrive in winter.
Here are 10 tips to help you avoid the winter blues:
- Stay connected to friends and family
Take the time to stay connected. And, I don’t mean connected through the internet! Meeting up with others for a visit can be uplifting. Even a phone call to a friend for a chat can brighten your day. Laughter and smiling with your friends will improve your mood.
- Head outdoors
Wrap up warm and head outdoors. Go beach combing or go walking with friends or the dog. Take the children to the park. The cold winter days make it less inviting to go outside but if you make the effort the fresh air will do wonders to your well-being and health.
- Have something to look forward too
Always have something to look forward too. Make sure there is a date in your diary booked that is special and you are really excited about. It could be a day out shopping or a tropical holiday.
- Treat yourself
Treat yourself to something just for you. There is scientific evidence for retail therapy. Dopamine is a brain chemical associated with feelings of pleasure and it is released when we experience something new or exciting. A new pretty pair of merino socks or item of warm clothing can make you feel great when you first buy it or every time you wear it.
In the winter months it can be easy to slow down and find excuses not to exercise. But exercising is great for blood flow. So therefore, exercise is great for keeping you warmer. Exercise can also help improve your sleep and it can make you feel more positive and energetic.
- Get some natural light
Brighten your house and let the natural light in by pulling the curtains as wide as they will go. Natural light increases your productivity and alertness because natural light is associated with melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone which your body releases to help with regulating alertness, better sleep and avoiding depression.
- Learn a new hobby
Could you help out at your local school or join a group? By doing this you are learning new skills and in turn this will excite and stimulate you. You’ll be also making new friends and then you will also have a reason to get out and about.
Keeping your diet healthy and balanced is extremely important at any time of the year but remember to keep that up during winter. Dr Pamela von Hurst, Senior Lecturer in Human Nutrition from Massey University in Auckland says, “Vitamin D is important in winter as it plays a significant role in maintaining the efficiency and effectiveness of our immune system and vitamin c is recognised as being important for maintaining health over winter.”She also advises a healthy diet is important for providing folate, fibre and a range of other antioxidants.
- Look forward to spring
Looking ahead to spring can bring warm thoughts. In spring, plants once again start growing and flowers start to bloom. It’s a refreshing time. Maybe you could start planning your spring garden? Buy or go out and pick yourself some flowers to remind you spring is not far away.
- Season affective disorder
Is having the winter blues more than you just feeling gloomy? Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form of depression which can affect people through the winter months. The Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand advises that if you think you are experiencing SAD, talk to your doctor. There is more information on their website.