Beat the blues this winter

If you’re suffering from the winter blues there are a number of things you can do in order to boost your mood and feel better.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is thought to affect around two million people in the UK. Symptoms such as depression, lethargy, irritability, trouble sleeping, overeating, and feeling down and unsociable can present themselves in adults and children alike. It is thought that the cold weather and lack of natural light and vitamin D could be the cause of bouts of depression during winter. If you’re suffering from the winter blues it can seem like there is no escape; however, there are a number of things you can do in order to boost your mood and feel better…

  • Get outside and stay active: Exercise increases your level of endorphins – the happy hormone – which lifts your mood and makes you feel better. Going for a walk outside in the morning or middle of the day not only helps you to stay active, but the daylight hits the back of your retinas and your brain registers the light.
  • Stay warm: Being cold can make you feel more depressed; and studies have shown that staying warm can reduce the winter blues by half. Consume regular hot drinks and food, and wear warm layered clothing and warm, comfortable shoes. Aim to keep your home between 18 and 21C where possible, or at least heat the room in which you spend most of your time.
  • Eat properly: The old saying is very true – you are what you eat. If you eat rubbish then you will feel like rubbish! Eat a balanced diet rich in carbohydrates, lean protein, and fresh fruit and vegetables. Eating healthily means you’ll be getting the vitamins you need to help fight the blues, as well as avoiding winter weight gain.
  • Socialise with friends and family: It can be all too easy to turn down invitations and stay indoors moping about when it’s cold and dark outside. However, socialising has been proven to be very effective in helping to lift the mood so make the effort to go and see friends and family. You could even take up a new hobby that allows you to meet and interact with new people!
  • Seek help: If it all gets too much and you seem unable to alter your mood with the methods discussed above then it’s really important to speak to your GP. There are various ways in which SAD can be treated, such as cognitive behavioural therapy, lightbox therapy, and support groups. Don’t suffer alone in silence, there’s plenty of help out there for you but your GP needs to know what’s wrong so that they can help find the right solution for you!