The onset of darker nights and shorter days bring different emotions to different people. For some they welcome the myriad of colour from the trees, for others it means feeling cold and damp. For one person it can stir up excitement of holidays and winter celebrations, but for others it means simply surviving until the spring. Unfortunately the latter is becoming more common.
Although simply in nature, below is a few suggestions which may help you improve your winter experience or even just improve your chances of survival.
Research has shown that a daily one-hour walk in the middle of the day could be as helpful as light treatment for coping with the winter blues. (Particularly good for managing S.A.D). When we feel our mood drop our natural tendency is to wrap up and withdraw. However, even when it is cold and slushy, direct sunlight can help produce Vitamin D which in turn boosts the limbic system.
- Keep WarmBeing cold can make you feel more depressed. Dress for the weather if you’re out and about. Drink warm drinks and have hot meals. If you can, take a flask out with you. It has been shown that staying warm can reduce winter blues by half.
- Take up a new hobbyKeeping your mind active and focused can reduce the experience of depression or low mood. Try anything, kitting, drawing, create gifts for Christmas, as long as it gives you something to look forward to it can be effective.
4. Get together with Friends
Although this seems fairly obvious, when our mood dips we prefer to stay away from others and keep ourselves isolated. We all do this for different reasons. However, contrary to what our instinct tells us being with others can have a very positive impact on how we feel. It doesn’t have to be for long and it doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, because of technology, it is now easier than ever to access a support group on line. Although it may not be as effective as face to face contact, the support can be vital.
5. Service, or give back
This is something we can all do and we can dictate how we do it. Gandhi once wrote that “the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”. It is true that when we seek to help someone else a byproduct is that we feel good, we feel that we have a purpose and can have an impact in this world. This is not about forgetting your own struggle or even claiming that someone is worse off, it is about simply helping someone else. How many of us struggle to help ourselves but know exactly what to do for others. Go to it.
These are only suggestions, we are all different and different things will work better. If you find that you’re unable to shake off that feeling or if you simply need the support, seek the support of a professional. Not only will they help identify what practical things you can do but will help you become aware of your own processes and coping strategies and assist in making fundamental changes to how you approach life.