With winter quickly on the approach and evenings getting darker, some of us will begin to feel the winter blues. Officially branded as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), it seems none of us enjoy waking up in the dark for a day in the office or heading home whilst driving in the pitch black.
Here are the Healthy Hideout’s top 5 ways to beat the affects of SAD:
- Sleeping patterns – It’s important to try and get your body into a consistent sleeping pattern throughout the week including the weekends. Although it’s nice to have a lie in, repeatedly hitting the “snooze” button on Saturday morning may leave you feeling lethargic and more tired when the next working week arrives.
- Light therapy – Reduced exposure to natural light has been known to cause a chemical imbalance inside the brain which can leave us in a depressed mood along with a sense of fatigue and irratability. One unique suggestion is to invest in a “seasonal light box” for the side of your bed, which mimics the suns rise a little earlier, in the comfort of your own bed. There are many sizes and options available so you’re bound to find one that will suit your needs best.
- Food – The summer leaves many of us encouraged by the flurry of fresh fruit and veg available at that time of year. Try and keep your intake of fruit and veg up throughout the winter period, and maintain a healthy intake of complex carbs such as wholegrain rice, pasta and bread. The added sustenance will keep your energy levels high throughout the day.
- Exercise - Regular exercise produces endorphins – we all know this. Many of us will start to sway away from our regular exercise routines as the temperature begins to drop, but try to maintain them and your body will thank you for it. Many studies have shown how physical workouts can help improve sleep and muscle tension. If it helps, try moving your workout so that it takes place during the few daylight hours that we have – It’ll help lift your mood!
- Laugh it up! – Socialising is easily one of the best ways to help beat SAD. Meet up with friends on a regular basis, and don’t sit at home being a couch potato under a blanket. Laughter has been known to produce many psychological benefits, boosting your immune system and lowering the effects of stress. Coupled quite perfectly from the phrase “a happy worker is a productive worker,” you may find yourself quickly changing your attitude to winter.
Let’s end with a favourite to get us all smiling:
For more information on SAD, here’s a great book to get your hands on: