Beat the Winter Blues: Top Tips for Staying Upbeat

Seasonal Depression is a thing.

Known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), the Mental Health Foundation describes SAD as a form of depression that occurs during specific times of the year, typically in winter.

Feeling down during the frosty months is common, but you can take steps to brighten your mood. Try these tips to help lift your spirits:

Stay Active

Staying active in winter can be challenging, but keeping your body moving is crucial. Consider:

  • Taking the stairs at work
  • Switching to at-home workouts if it’s too cold outside
  • Checking out the Sit Less Move More campaign to get moving at the office
  • Trying a new indoor activity like yoga, pilates, or dance classes
  • Setting a daily step goal and using a fitness tracker to stay motivated
  • Incorporating stretching exercises to keep your body flexible and relaxed

Embrace Natural Light

Exposure to natural light and fresh air can reduce SAD symptoms. Try:

  • Taking a short walk during your lunch break
  • Opening your blinds and curtains during the day to let in natural light
  • Planning outdoor activities on weekends to maximise daylight exposure
  • Rearranging your workspace to be closer to natural light sources

Eat Nutritious Foods

Your diet plays a significant role in how you feel, especially in winter. Aim to:

  • Cut out junk food
  • Incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your meals
  • Include mood-boosting foods like fish, nuts, seeds, and whole grains
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and herbal teas
  • Avoid excessive caffeine and sugar, which can lead to energy crashes
  • Plan and prep healthy meals in advance to avoid last-minute unhealthy choices
  • Check out our blog on the Role of Diet in Mental Health to learn more.

Get Your Vitamins

With less sunlight in winter, it’s easy to become Vitamin D deficient. Consider:

  • Taking Vitamin D supplements
  • Ensuring you get other essential vitamins like B12 and omega-3 fatty acids
  • Eating fortified foods such as cereals and plant-based milk
  • Including vitamin-rich foods like citrus fruits, leafy greens, and dairy products
  • Consulting with a healthcare professional for personalised supplement advice
  • Monitoring your vitamin intake to ensure you’re meeting daily requirements

Relax and Unwind

Winter’s long, cold work weeks can impact your well-being. Make time to:

  • Relax and de-stress with activities you enjoy
  • Practise mindfulness and meditation to calm your mind
  • Create a cosy and comfortable space at home for relaxation
  • Take warm baths with essential oils to soothe your senses
  • Read books, listen to music, or watch movies that make you happy
  • Set aside time each day for hobbies or creative pursuits

Connect with Others

Talking about how you feel can make a big difference. Try:

  • Reaching out to family and friends
  • Joining support groups to share experiences with others going through similar situations
  • Participating in community events or online forums
  • Volunteering your time to help others, which can also boost your mood
  • Scheduling regular catch-ups with loved ones, even if it’s virtual
  • Building a support network of people who understand and care about your well-being

Want to learn more about SAD, including causes and symptoms? Click here for advice, resources, and contacts.

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