For many reasons, January is considered one of the most stressful months of year. The obvious? It’s dark, cold and miserable. During December there is a positive spin on this thanks to Christmas lights and lots of cheer but come January the cold winter feels like it’s gone on long enough. Try adding New Year resolutions to the mix and the pressures that come with trying to stick to those and you’ve got yourself a gloomy feeling month.
This can often lead to the dreaded ‘winter blues’ so here are some top tips to give yourself a boost…
According to the NHS there is scientific evidence to support the idea that winter can affect our mood. It’s thought that the issue is related to light changing hormone levels in our body. With fewer hours of daylight your body may create higher levels of melatonin (which creates your sleep-wake cycle, your internal body clock) leading to lethargic and depressing feelings. To counteract this, be sure to spend as much time as possible outside in the natural light, even if hiding under your duvet sounds more appealing.
With so little daylight it’s essential to create a good sleep routine to ensure you see as much of that daylight as possible. While hiding under your duvet can be cosy, it only makes the winter season feel darker. Getting into a good routine means that the sleep you do have will be of good quality, setting you up nicely for the following day.
While rest and relaxation are incredibly important, it’s just as crucial to find a balance. Exercise has both mental and physical benefits and the release of endorphins can help combat a bad mood. Why not try exercising outdoors to gain some daylight at the same time. The charity Mind says research has shown that an hour-long walk in the middle of the day is an effective way to beat the winter blues, so staying active doesn’t mean you have to go full throttle at a local gym.
Fatty or sugary comfort food may feel the way to go but your mind and body crave healthy, slow energy releasing foods during winter. If you’re looking for warmth try nourishing soups and herbal teas.