Winter is a fantastic time of the year with much to look forward to, but for many people the shorter days and lack of sunlight can make the season a lot more difficult. If you are feeling the weight of winter, then carry on reading to find out about the little things you can do to help make it easier.
It can often feel hard when the sun seems to rise and set within the blink of an eye. When 4 in the afternoon feels more like 4 in the morning and when you know the day won’t show its face again until 8 am the following morning. Unless you are a vampire or a creature of the night then you certainly do need sunlight in order to function. A lack of it consequently, can greatly affect our physical and mental health. Conditions such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) are common and growing, with one in four of us reporting depression, a persistent low mood and feelings of despair as some of the main symptoms. The seasonal disorder can also cause a lack of energy and interest in normal everyday activities. Likewise many people report feeling sad, irritable and foggy. SAD can affect every aspect of life from work and relationships to sleep and appetite. As well as the mental impact of winter, the cold and darkness can also affect our immune system, giving us an increased risk of colds, flu and other illnesses.
We understand how difficult winter can be, so if you too are struggling with the darker season, no matter how little or how much, then there are many things that you can do to help yourself cope that little bit more.
If you are feeling depressed or you are struggling in any way, the first thing to do is to talk to someone. Talk to someone you trust- a friend or family- and let them know what you are going through. Knowing you are not alone can be comforting as well as the first step to getting the right support. If you do suspect that you are suffering with SAD, seek help from a medical professional. Talking it out no matter how you are feeling, can help them direct you to the right course of treatment. Tools like sun lamps have even become popular over the last few years for conditions like SAD. The lamp mimics the light from the sun and is believed to help increase those good serotonin levels in your body.
In the winter, staying social with your loved ones is also incredibly important. While curling up in front of Netflix might be a welcome distraction from the cold and dark nights, getting out to meet friends for dinner or a drink now and then can help to boost your mood.
Whether it’s a brisk walk or a gentle stroll in the winter sun, take some time out from your day to get outside in the daylight. It could be a 5 minute walk on your lunch break, it doesn’t matter, getting out into the light for any amount of time can help increase your mood and refresh you for whatever the day will bring next. It can be easy to want to stay indoors and hibernate when it feels cold and miserable but bundling yourself up and getting out of the house can help to stir up those happy hormones. WFH means many of us are already hibernating in our home, while for those who commute, the short days could mean that they barely see the daylight at all. Getting out and about during daylight hours is important for our mental health and can do us the world of wonders when we’re feeling less than great. So grab a coffee and get out there for a while.
Our main source of Vitamin D comes from the sun and unfortunately for many of us in less than sunny climates, we are often in short supply. During the winter months, we can therefore expect the lack of it to play havoc with our Vitamin D levels. Taking supplements during the colder months can help us all avoid the problems that come from a Vitamin D deficiency and the problems that they can cause later on in life.
Your special space is going to be your refuge from the cold and darkness when you get home and close the door behind you, so make it extra cosy this winter. Think fluffy throws and blankets and pretty fairylights– they’re not just for Christmas after all. Decorate your space with light and warmth. Candles help to add a cosier atmosphere and with so many beautiful aesthetic candles on the market, you’ll want them in every colour. The key is to make your space, whether it’s your bedroom or the living room, as cosy and inviting to you as possible. In this room or indeed the entire house, you are able to get away from winter. It’s a place to practise self-care and feel safe. Be as personal with it as possible and fill it with things that make you feel warm and happy.
Winter is the perfect time to keep up with passions and hobbies, or even take up a new project. If you’ve been meaning to learn to knit, or perhaps read more, then challenge yourself to knit a cosy jumper, or read X amount of books by the end of the season. You don’t even have to make it a big challenge. Do something you enjoy, no matter how small, to motivate yourself on even the toughest days. Why not then write down your daily win. By the end of winter, you’ll be able to celebrate all the small achievements you’ve made, just as much as the bigger ones.