Fighting the winter blues
Dark evenings, cold mornings, grey days - it's not easy to fight off the Winter Blues - so here's some useful tips to get you through to spring.
I don’t know about you but I can fully relate at this time of year to the concept of the winter blues. The shorter days, colder weather, and the general blah of the winter season has me missing the warm summer months as I’m hitting the boost button on my radiator and burying myself under piles of blankets. The reduced sunlight we’re experiencing at the moment will be affecting our circadian rhythm, i.e. basically the body’s biological clock that governs hormone production (and we all know how fun hormones are). If you’re like me, chances are you've woken up on a wet, grey, wintry day and wanted to roll over back into bed. However, life must go on. So here’s a few tips of mine to help tackle these winter blues and get you through to spring.
When I was attending an ED clinic a phrase which would be repeated often to me was how “You wouldn’t run a car on no fuel, so why would you run your body on no food?”. This is true for all of us. How do we expect to be working and feeling our best if we’re not fuelling our body with the nutrients we need or getting enough sleep at night? Both of these play a huge part in our moods. Being hangry is real! As our blood sugar levels drops so does our tolerance. Aim to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night and eat the rainbow of fruits and veggies, although it is also completely okay to indulge in the comfort foods here and there as we should not deprive ourselves of treats.
Take your vitamins
Leading on from food, it is always good to take multivitamins at this time of year too. I didn’t believe this was really a thing until I started this year. I take multivitamin + iron once a day in a tiny tablet form which was really inexpensive to buy, and since I have felt an increase in energy and strengthening in my hair and nails. It will also help boost your immune system against all the yucky bugs and germs which are flying about at the moment.
Get outside when you can
Alright, I know it can be cold and miserable and looking out at the bleak sky it doesn’t motivate me much to get out there either, but there are multiple reasons why we should aim to get out of our accommodation at least once a day. One is the positive impacts of exposure to natural environments on our mental wellbeing. This is because exposure to views of nature can reduce stress and mental fatigue. If we go on a long walk, run or cycle that’ll have physical benefits too and help us to fall asleep easier at night. It can be hard to find places to exercise in the city but Leeds offers great places and spaces like Woodhouse Moor or along the city canals.
Now, I’m definitely not endorsing flat parties or the breaking of Covid rules, but a lot of us will be finding ourselves at home or in empty flats at the moment away from many of our friends or family. It can be so easy to isolate ourselves from the world when we are stuck in lockdown. Yet, it is especially during these harder times that we must keep in contact with our friends and loved ones. We must all be used to Facetime and sick of Zoom quizzes by now but surrounding ourselves with positive people and laughing with our friends is going to get us all through this. Maybe you’ve not spoken to that one person in a while, so pick up the phone and give them a call. Or you can go old fashioned and write letters to a pen friend. Whatever your thing is just get social.
Lockdown has given us plenty of time to fill. I’m just as upset as the next person that we can’t go out and do all that we wish to at the moment. However, turning a positive spin on all this is how it has given us more spare time to try new things. Many friends and family I know have taken up meditation or yoga. I myself have rekindled old hobbies such as art and guitar which over the years I gave less and less time to. Now, I can’t judge anyone for having a Netflix binge and many a good series I have watched this year, but tv doesn’t reward us with the same gratification as improving a language skill or completing a craft you’ve made. When lockdown's over and we’re looking back on the past year or more, do you want to be the exact same person with the exact same skills as before?