It’s that time of year again. You wake up in the dark and come home in the dark. Your sofa has moulded itself around you as you stare vacantly at crap reality TV. And every morning sees you psyche yourself up to get out of bed and into the shower because WHY god why don’t you have under floor heating?!
Mental health and winter are age-old enemies. But here are some battle tips to make sure you win the fight.
1. Eat the good stuff.
Winter is the season when our eyes grow bigger, our stomachs grows bottomless, and our ass grows huge. It’s our appetite’s favourite time of year. But too many delicious treats will cause our blood sugar levels to spike, inciting an initial burst of happiness and then sending us on a dangerous downer. So don’t overdo it.
2. Turn up the lights.
“Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the lights.” Soak that in. Let it kindle your inner candle. Let Dumbledore’s spirit intertwine with yours as you walk around your house, turning on all of your lights, all the while remembering that electricity costs money.
I shouldn’t be telling you this, but the sun and joy always go away together at winter, hence why we feel like crap.
But you don’t need the two of them. Exposing yourself to as much light as possible will do the trick. Light boxes are particularly effective as they mimic natural light and can have as positive an effect on our mind as the real thing.
3. Embrace it.
The teenager cocooned itself in a blanket, it’s face like a slapped arse poking out the end. Winter was here, and it had withdrawn to its bed with great speed. It would do nothing but eat, sleep, and netflix for the coming months. Hygiene? Ha. What’s that? Meanwhile, outside, its peers were braving the cold. They shivered their timbers and let icicles form on their bare skin. Yes, their fingers were blue, but their moods were not.
And yes, their heart-rates were down, but their lips were turned up – all because they made the decision to enjoy the winter.
A simple choice with powerful consequences. The only way to beat it is to embrace it.
4. Get your sweat on.
Winter is a great time for sport – outdoor texting, speed changing, competitive sniffling…
Ah, what a time to be alive, but also dead inside.
If you’re feeling like a zombie, it’s because serotonin, the mood enhancing chemical in the brain, is less active during this time of year. But by exercising regularly, you can bring yourself back to life. Physical activity is known for helping to boost endorphins – aka, our feel good hormones – and can relieve stress even in the hours after you’ve finished. It is also a great detoxifier and works wonders for the immune system. You see, pumping blood increases the circulation of the immune cells which detect and destroy infection. Ain’t no flu going to step to you now.
5. Plan stuff you can look forward to.
Some mornings you’re going to wake up and think; “I just want to get through the day.” And that’s okay – until it becomes every morning. One way to overcome this feeling is to give yourself something to feel excited about. Whether it’s a holiday or new TV show, all that matters is that it gives you something positive to focus on when you’re having a rough time and reminds you to take care of yourself.
You’re in control of your happiness – don’t forget it.
These are just a few tips to help you beat those winter blues! If your symptoms persist, you may be suffering from something more serious, so be sure to contact your doctor. You’ve got to be fighting fit for this annual battle.