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How to beat the winter blues

14 Nov

This time of year can really affect our energy. You are not a bear rather than hibernate this is how you beat the winter blues.

Blanket, hot chocolate, book on a tray with autumn fallen leaves

The shorter, darker, days are not the easiest time of year for many of us. There’s less time in the day to enjoy the things we love and if you are separating or divorcing Christmas might be something you are dreading rather than the festive boost you need. The rise in cost of living this winter is also likely to bring a host of mental health issues regardless of whether you are single, married or divorced. 

Here are my top tips for beating the winter blues, so you can take care of yourself this winter and face whatever is to come. 

Attitude of gratitude 

Gratitude is a really important mindfulness practice, with evidence suggesting it can lead to a better mood. Finding things that you are grateful for can help change your mindset, so rather than thinking about the things you don’t like at this time of year, begin to recognise what you do like and what/who you are grateful for. 

Find a routine

As the days shorten the temptation is to spend fewer and fewer hours outdoors, but this will rapidly reduce your energy and lower your mood. Instead, try to stick to a similar routine in the winter as you would in the summer. Get up at a reasonable time, don’t veg out in front of the TV, instead go for a walk or spend time outdoors every day. If you can, going to bed and waking at the same time each day will help your body to regulate itself. This means your body will be ready for sleeping and waking, even if the lack of sun makes you feel as though there is no midday.

Get better sleep
Sleep is vital for mental wellbeing and keeping a routine will help you to maintain healthy patterns. If you are struggling try using a Lumie lamp to simulate sunrise and sunset, so you can help to get to sleep and wake up more easily. There are more tips on how to improve your sleep here.

Get moving

Exercising three times a week will also give you a boost and keep your mind and body active.  Exercise has a wide range of benefits, from boosting health to soothing anxiety. It can also help the body to ease into sleep. Going for a walk for just ten minutes in nature can boost serotonin and give you a natural lift so be sure to get out and get your daily fix. 

Yoga is also a fantastic form of exercise at this time of year because it  is low impact, and therefore kind on any joints that might be feeling a little tender and less mobile with the cold and damp weather. It can also be done easily at home – all you need is a mat. 

Countryside walk in autumn

Comfort food

Cooking dinner can be a great mindful practice and also bring a sense of routine to your day. Taking the time to make something from scratch will break up those days and offer some much-needed rest for your brain. Well-cooked vegetables and stews are warming and grounding foods, perfect for balancing out colder, windier days and keeping your digestive system firing steadily. Remember to eat evenly throughout the day, rather than having one large meal at the end – which will also help with digestion.

Simple pleasures

In Autumn and Winter it’s important to find moments of joy in the everyday. Why not sink into a warm bath, light your favourite candle or take twenty minutes to read a book before bed? By creating a cosy home and incorporating small, meaningful rituals into everyday life, you can enjoy the simple pleasures and make the autumn and winter enjoyable seasons. The important thing about wellness is knowing what works for you. It’s good to try out different techniques and stick with the ones you enjoy. Is an hour reading by the fire enough to lift your mood? Write a list of ways to treat yourself and incorporate them into your daily or weekly routine. 

Keeping well in winter is more important than ever, making sure to eat well, move every day and spend time outside (no matter how awful the weather is) are all ways to help you stay well and get through.

Women sat on bed reading with a cup of coffee
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