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8 Ways To Beat The Winter Blues

4 MIN READ • 16th May 2022
Health and Wellbeing by Health and Wellbeing

If it feels like someone’s turned the dimmer switch on your happiness, it’s time to lighten up

Bleak days and damp nights may be what Netflix was invented for but when everyday life calls, drumming up the motivation to get through those 24 hours can be an effort. With mood-boosting serotonin levels plummeting due to the scant natural light, the winter blues can quickly develop into SAD (seasonal affective disorder). Varying from manageable to all-consuming, SAD affects 15 million people (three-fourths of them women) and can present symptoms such as weight gain, a low libido, fatigue and a hankering for carbs like nothing else. If this sounds familiar, here are a few easy ways you can keep your spirits up.

  • 8 Ways To Beat The Winter Blues Think scandi
    Over the last couple of years but there’s something to be said about the Scandinavian way of life. Touted as some of the happiest people on the planet, their positive winter mindset is down to leaning into the season. Too cold to venture out? Don’t! Invite all of your best friends and family over for a cosy night in or centre a new activity like cooking around being inside or wherever you are happiest.

  • 8 Ways To Beat The Winter Blues Cook up some comfort
    If there’s one positive that comes from cold days it’s having something delicious to look forward to. It doesn’t have to be calorie-laden to be comforting and can even spark a new area of food you’re not familiar with. Focusing on mood-loving ingredients like salmon, eggs, black beans or a hearty quinoa salad can not only boost your immunity to fight the winter bugs it can also taste just as good as a pack of biscuits!

  • 8 Ways To Beat The Winter Blues Spruce up your space
    “Many studies show that laughter boosts our energy, decreases stress hormones, improves immunity and diminishes pain,” Marilyn says. “But what’s very important for anyone who is stressed or feeling down, is that laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the natural feel-good chemicals that make us happier and relaxed.”

  • 8 Ways To Beat The Winter Blues Go on the D-fence
    If you’ve seen all the hubbub in the news about vitamin D, it’s for a good reason. Known as the sunshine vitamin, our body is in a serious deficit without those sunny rays in winter. Top up your dosage to 1,000 or 2,000 IU daily to see your SAD improve. We love healthspan’s Super Strength Vitamin D3 (£11.95 healthspan.co.uk).

  • 8 Ways To Beat The Winter Blues Break into a sweat
    OK, we know that hitting the gym is the last thing you feel like doing in winter but scheduling it into your routine can make the biggest difference in your joy factor. A study from Duke University Medical Centre found that just 25 minutes of light exercise such as walking or yoga class can be as effective in improving your mood as daily light therapy. In fact one study found that mildly depressed people who walked briskly three times a week for four months saw their symptoms ebb.

  • 8 Ways To Beat The Winter Blues The one negative you need
    Remember learning about atoms at school? No, us neither. But it turns out they could come in handy. Atoms with an extra negatively charged particle are usually found in the wair during summer time and can be recreated with electrical ionizer machine (Negative Ion Generator HF200, £49.99 superdrug.com). Simply set the timer to 90 minutes before your alarm clock goes off and it will come on, filling your air with positive vibes.

  • 8 Ways To Beat The Winter Blues Let’s go outside
    On those crisp and sunny winter days (they do happen occasionally), what better way to enjoy it than to get out there? According to Sue Pavlovich of the Seasonal Affective Disorder Association (SADA), venturing out for at least 10 minutes a day will boost those serotonin and dopamine levels which play a starring role in your happiness. Clouding over? No problem, the light will still stimulate our brain and give us the same effect.

Need some me time?

Picture the scene – you’re reclining in a comfy, supportive sunlounger, your skin is warm and salty as you take in the floral air and feel the sand between your toes. No, it’s not our latest holiday competition, it’s your local David Lloyd gym. Vitamin Me is the latest wellness trend sweeping the national sports chain as it taps into the SAD epidemic. Offering 30 minute multisensory classes, participants at the Vitamin Me classes, guests are greeted not with mats or dumbbells, but with sun loungers, the scent of sun cream and the sounds of waves lapping through their headphones. After 15 minutes of light lamp therapy complete with sand for your feet you can enjoy 10 minutes of HIIT to blow away the winter cobwebs and get those feel-good endorphins going. “During shorter winter days it can be difficult to spend time outside in natural light, especially when people are busy with work,” psychologist Elaine Slater says. “According to the Seasonal Affective Disorder Association, light therapy has been shown to be effective in up to 85 percent of SAD cases. Light therapy helps to improve mood and leaves us feeling more energised, and the 15 minutes of this during the Vitamin Me class is the ideal time for people to sit in the light of a SAD lamp. If you can’t make it along to a David Lloyd class, then use any opportunity to be exposed to natural light when possible, in particular during your lunch hour at work.” Who needs a winter break when you be transferred to the beach on your lunch break? Davidlloyd.co.uk

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