Beat those winter blues
With shorter days and longer nights, we can show you the light! Muddy's got the scoop on how to beat Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Seasonal Affective Disorder is no laughing matter. As the days get shorter and the world gets darker it can drastically impact our mood.
In fact, in research conducted by the Royal College of Psychologists, 1 in 3 people in the UK suffer with it. So, if you get a bit grumpy at this time of year you are certainly not alone.
However, there are things that you can do – both physically and mentally – that can ease the symptoms and get you through the winter months. Here are our top tips for keeping yourself chipper over the winter period.
It’s so cliché BUT exercise really does help in these situations. I know, I know, the thought of dragging yourself out into the cold to get all sweaty may not fill you with glee. But it’s a proven fact that exercise raises levels of dopamine and serotonin in the body and this gives you that oh-so-warm-and-fluffy feeling, post-workout.
The key thing is to try and enjoy the activity (no, raising a glass of gin repeatedly doesn’t count). So, whether that be a spot of restorative yoga, or even trying your hand to something a little bit more adventurous, get that heart pumping and you’ll be feeling better in no time at all. Not feeling it? Check out my Little Black Book for some exercise and gym inspo.
The core reason behind SAD is to do with light. Natural sunlight causes the body to create melatonin which is the stuff that tells your body when to be awake or asleep. The lack of natural sunlight at this time of year plays havoc with this cycle and leaves people feeling sluggish and fatigued.
One of the most effective ways to help alleviate the symptoms is light therapy. It sounds a bit new-age and mystical but is simply using a special lamp that mimics natural sunlight to ‘trick’ the body into producing melatonin. These are pretty widely available and you can even pick them up at John Lewis.
Sometimes a change of scenery can pick up the spirits, whether it be the anticipation of the trip or generally being away from daily life. Ideally, a beach in Mauritius would be the perfect spot (just think of all those poolside cocktails… I mean Vitamin D). However a staycation, even somewhere super local, would suffice.
Schedule a couple of days for a cheeky little weekend away, maybe with a spa thrown in for good measure (hmm, I think Chewton Glen would be the perfect spot for this don’t you?!) and give yourself a little pampering to get you through the winter months.
It’s easy when you’re feeling a bit down in the dumps to reach for that packet of chocolate biscuits rather than a Kale smoothie (actually, even when you’re cheery this is somewhat a mammoth task).
Diet plays a huge part in our mood-regulation, and its simply a case of if you’re putting below-par nutrients into your body you are going to get a similar output, energy-wise. Sorry!
We’re super lucky that where we live has an amazing range of brilliant producers and you don’t even have to go full paleo-vegan-gluten-free to feel the benefit. Simply choosing higher quality produce and getting as much fruit and veg into your system as possible will certainly make in-roads on your health, mindset and your mood. We’ve even put together a list of some of the top farmer’s markets in the county to get yourself some great, mood-lifting, grub.
It’s way too easy to get stressed at this time of year. From the impending Christmas season and all it’s foibles, to the stresses and strains of work, life and family – it’s a lot easier in summer to throw off these problems and slink off to the pub garden for a pick-me-up.
Dealing with stress is a huge issue and something that varies from person-to-person. Some people benefit from relaxing therapies such as a massage (we really rate Ellie Whitehall’s aromatherapy massages as a brilliant stress reliever) but some people would probably benefit from just reading a book, or taking a long walk along the Hampshire coastline. It’s a case of trial and error, and making sure you carve out enough “me-time” for yourself.
The key thing to do is keep yourself busy during the winter period. And, in the meantime, make sure you keep checking Muddy for great places to visit, things to do and more. I promise, it’ll be spring again before you know it.