Baby, it's cold outside. Winter weather means shorter days, colder weather, and the general blah of the winter season. Chances are you’ve woken up today on a grey, rainy, cold wintry day and wanted to stay in bed.
For me Winter is tough, I feel the cold like nobody's business and it gets me down so I have to work extra hard on my mental health during the colder months. Here are a few techniques I keep in mind so at winter's end I'm not at my wits end :-)
1. Embrace The Cold Fresh Air - Layer up like a mummy in moisture wicking fabrics and get outside! Being cooped up with nothing but heaters to keep the air moving means fresh air is much harder to come by in winter! Generally, the air outside is healthier then that inside so exercising outdoors gives your lungs a chance to detox and breathe deeply without concern for breathing in other people’s bugs. The fresh air and a walk will also clear your head and make you feel alive!
2. Exercise - Exercise is the most underutilised anti depressant. Regular exercise strengthens your immune system so it can fight off bacterial and viral infections. This becomes particularly important in winter when colds and flu rear their ugly heads. But the absolute best thing about exercise is it gets your blood pumping, releasing feel-good brain chemicals that ease depression and anxiety, reducing immune system chemicals that can worsen depression and it increases your body temperature, which can have calming effects
3. Train With A Friend - Training with a buddy is one of the best ways to increase accountability. Making the commitment to train with someone, whether it’s a friend or personal trainer, often forces a different, increased level of effort in your training resulting in more endorphins being released into your body and not to mention the exta calories you burn! If you’re exercising with someone else, that means you’ll have to keep to more of a set schedule and also ensures you're not alone and keep social resulting in better mental health
4. Get Some Sunshine - There’s a reason it’s called the sunshine vitamin. While there are a limited number of foods such as mushrooms, eggs and oily fish that can provide your body with vitamin D, the easiest source is from exposure of your skin to sunlight. Vitamin D deficiency affects 30% Australians which can result in low mood particularly. Vitamin D also gives you strong bones, helps in calcium absorption and keeps your immune system strong which we all need in Winter. Expose your arms in the sun for as long as you can around midday in Winter outside or sit by a window and catch some rays
5. Drink Less - It’s a very simple tip that applies any time of year, but winter is when most people stay in, warm up and eat rich foods and drink more. Alcohol is a depressant and although a nice glass of red with dinner is ok, drinking in excess of 2 drinks can have a reverse effect on your mood
6. Eat More Good Mood Food - A number of lifestyle factors can contribute to depression, but one that’s often overlooked is what you put in your mouth. Diet plays a huge role in depression. If we eat better foods like lean proteins, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and fish, we short-circuit the junk food cravings and have higher energy levels and sharper mental focus. Foods like Salmon, coconut, lentil, bananas, eggs, nuts, red berries, asparagus and dark chocolate or cacao are great for boosting energy
7. Treat Yourself - Winter is a great time to book in a massage or facial, go shopping, see a play or musical and catch a movie. Do all the things you wouldn't want to do on a warm sunny day when the beach beckons
8. Sit By A Fire or Light A Candle - It’s primal, that feeling you get when you stick your face into a hot glowing body of flames. There’s something so consoling about staring into the embers and warming your hands by their heat. But you need not go to the trouble of building a fire in your house: You can borrow someone else’s fire — even a coffee shop’s — or you can simply light a few candles and enjoy a primal moment to remind you that you belong to this world of human beings that have sat around fires for thousands of years to get warm and enjoy a moment of stillness
9. Start A Project - There’s no time like winter to start a home project, like de-cluttering the house or purging all the old clothes in your kids’ closets. Projects like organising bookshelves, shredding old tax returns, painting the house and cleaning out the garage are perfect activities for the dreary months of the year
10. Blast Some Tunes - Play your favourite music and dance around your house like nobody's watching. My favourite dance tracks from the 90's always snap me out of it and make me feel energised again!
Hope this helps
Lifestylist Health & Wellness