As the days get shorter and temperatures begin to drop, many of us find our mood takes a dip and we succumb to what’s known as the Winter Blues. This common phenomenon is characterised by sadness during the winter months, trouble sleeping, lack of motivation and the desire to eat more carbohydrates.
Lack of sunlight plays a big part as it helps regulate brain function and this affects our hormone levels. Our brains produce less melatonin due to the lack of sunlight which can also decrease serotonin production, the hormone that affects our mood, sleep and appetite. Most of us aren’t overly affected by this dip in hormone levels but some people are more sensitive to this.
So if you’ve been suffering from the Winter Blues and want to know the best way to manage and even beat those symptoms, here’s my top 5 tips.
1. Melatonin Supplements
These can help combat the lack of sunlight and help with your mood, sleep and appetite. Unfortunately Melatonin supplements are not available over the counter at your local pharmacy for anyone under the age of 55 so ask your GP for a prescription.
2. Chase the Sun
Exposing yourself to sunlight can help our brains produce those much needed feel good hormones. So get out for a walk when you can or even sit out in the sun for a few minutes. Even small amounts can have a positive effect.
3. Get Outside and Socialise
Exercise and social interaction can play a huge part in lifting your mood. Studies have shown it can have a positive effect on the symptoms of depression so making the effort to regularly enjoy your favourite form of exercise or meeting a friend for coffee or inviting friends over is a must during the winter months.
4. Keep Up Your Sleep Routine
Sticking to a good sleep routine will ensure you’re getting enough sleep each night. This will help your brain function better but also give you that much needed energy to keep warm and focussed during the day. Try getting up and going to bed at the same time every day, following a simple bedtime routine, avoiding electronics in bed and exposing yourself to light as soon as you wake up.
5. Challenge Those Negative Thoughts
Identify any negative or self-defeating thoughts you might be having at this time of year and try to reframe them into something that’s more accurate and positive. An example of this could be, ‘I can’t exercise during Winter, it’s too cold and dark’ could be reframed into, ‘during Winter I take a flexible approach to fitness and workout inside so I still feel like I’m being active.’
So there’s my top tips for beating the Winter Blues. If you’d like to learn how to optimise your diet during winter, our Dietician Deeni could help. Or if you’re looking for some support with your mental health, you can book in with myself by calling 84319100 or visiting our website and making an appointment on line.