How to beat the Winter Blues

The festive period isn’t an easy time of year for everyone.

Shorter, darker days, absent loved ones and the weight of expectation can all contribute to feelings of low mood, stress and anxiety – just when we’re meant to be at our cheeriest!

If you’re feeling a dip in your mood, try these (scientifically-proven) ways to lift your spirits.

Get outside

Try to get as much natural daylight as possible. Combined with exercise (a quick walk will do), more daylight has been shown to help us cope with the winter blues.

If you have to spend the middle of the day indoors, consider using a light box for a few hours a day. It’s thought to be particularly effective for easing seasonal depression.

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Stay cosy

Scientists suggest that staying warm can reduce the winter blues by half, so wrap up warm when heading out and choose for hot drinks and food over cold options.

If possible, keep your home between 18C and 21C.

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Treat yourself kindly

Don’t be tempted to skip meals or rely on sugar to boost flagging energy levels.

Fuel yourself with hearty but nourishing dishes that help to keep blood sugar levels in check. Try fibre-rich, comforting and easy-to-prepare carbohydrates like oats and lentils.

You can find mood-boosting molecules in your Christmas dinner too. Turkey meat contains tryptophan which the body uses to produce serotonin – the happy hormone.

Keep in touch

Make an effort to keep in touch with people you care about and accept invitations to social events, even if you only drop by for a quick cup of tea.

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Seek support

It’s thought that more than 12 million people across Northern Europe experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (often referred to as SAD or the ‘winter blues’).

Symptoms can vary, but medication or other therapies are sometimes required.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or your mood is affecting your day to day life, consider seeking advice from your doctor or charity such as Mind.