Have you started hibernating yet? We all know the feeling….. everything just seems like too much trouble; it’s easier to close the curtains and crank up the heating, blocking out the cold Winter days and nights. Many of us experience a sink in mood during the Winter months. We may feel tired, lethargic or experience low spirits, this is termed the Winter blues.
Most scientists agree that the winter blues is linked to the body’s response to reduced daylight. Simply put, hormonal changes occur in response to the amount of light taken in by our eyes. Melatonin (the hormone associated with sleep cycles) and serotonin (the feel good hormone) levels change; melatonin levels increase in response to reduced light and serotonin levels reduce.
Below are some tips to help beat those winter blues. However, if you are feeling deeply depressed and your daily functioning is impaired it is recommended that you visit your GP.
Keep active, whether that’s a visit to the gym, a run, a bike ride or even a brisk walk. If that feels too much then fidget, jiggle your legs. Rhythmic movements and exercise release serotonin.
Try to get a minimum of 20 minutes natural light a day, the more natural light that you can be exposed to the better. If you can’t get out of the house try sitting in the window, otherwise invest in a box light. Light therapy is offered in the treatment of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and is effective in up to 85% of cases.
Being cold can impact upon your mood, it can leave you feeling low. Studies have shown that staying warm can reduce the winter blues by half. Keep warm with hot food and drinks, wear warm clothes and aim to keep your home between 18 – 21 degrees Celsius.
We are all aware of the benefits of a healthy diet and how it can affect not just our energy levels but also our clarity of thought and our mood.
Take up a hobby
A lot of people stop doing things that they enjoy over the Winter period; this in itself can trigger feelings of low mood. Having something to focus on can really help, so keep your mind active not just your body.
Should you find the symptoms of the Winter blues persist or they start to impact upon your ability to function at work or home then talking treatments can help you to cope or better manage the symptoms. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), counselling and psychotherapy are all types of talking therapies.
See your friends and family
Socialising is great for your mental health! A social event with a friend or family member is a great mood booster but if that is difficult to arrange around other commitments, a simple phone call will do. If you are affected by stress and feel you need to talk about it or find a way to cope with it then contact Capital CBT at www.capitalcbt.com