Overcoming Winter Woes

Hello. The nights are drawing in, the temperature is falling and sunshine is in short supply. While this can be a warm, cosy time of the year with lamplight and glowing fires, for lots of us the lack of daylight can really get us down.

Some people may just notice slight changes to their mood while others may suffer from full blown Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is a type of depression you experience during particular seasons or times of year, winter being a common one, and it can have a big effect on daily life.

If you’re starting to feel less than your best here are some of the signs of SAD you may be noticing:

  • Feeling tired with a lack of energy and motivation.
  • Finding it hard to concentrate
  • Not wanting to see people or to go out.
  • Sleeping more or less than usual, difficulty waking up, or difficulty falling or staying asleep.
  • Feeling sad, low, tearful, guilty or hopeless.
  • Changes in your appetite, for example feeling more hungry or wanting more snacks and comfort food.
  • Being more prone to physical health problems, such as colds, infections or other illnesses.
  • Other symptoms of depression.

But don’t despair, there are lots of things you can do to help to lift your mood:

  • Make the most of natural light by going outside on walks, opening blinds and curtains wide and sitting near a window. Try to get out in the mornings when it is lighter.
  • When natural light is in short supply you may benefit from a daylight lamp.
  • Spend time in nature. Have a read of my blog post on Nature & Mental Health for some great ideas – Nature And Mental Health – Aurora Hypnotherapy
  • Prioritise your sleep. Getting good sleep can help to improve your mood and increase your energy levels.
  • Take time every day to do something you enjoy. It’s not being selfish – it’s essential to your well-being and everyone will benefit.
  • Practice relaxation techniques such as mindfulness or breathing exercises such as this one – Breathing Techniques | Stress | Aurora Hypnotherapy
  • Think about what you eat – eating regularly and keeping your blood sugar stable can make a difference to your mood and energy levels. Planning and preparing meals in advance can help for when you just can’t be bothered to cook.
  • Physical activity, even the most gentle walk, can provide a big boost to your mood.
  • Keep in touch with your friends and family to avoid feeling isolated.
  • If you’re still working from home, or you’re at home a lot, resist the temptation to live in your PJs. As comfy as they are, you’ll feel a lot better if you shower and get dressed – and then you’ll have the pleasure of putting them on at the end of the day!
  • Autumn and winter can be glorious so take time each day to notice the good things.

Some other mood boosters that are also lots of fun:
Studies have shown that:

  • Spending just 45 minutes of on craft work can reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
  • Listening to live music triggers feelings of self worth.
  • Spending time with furry friends promotes the release of feel good chemicals which boost our mood.
  • Hugging boosts oxytocine, the happy hormone.
  • Two soaks in the bath per week can improve your mood more than aerobic exercise and a pre-bed bath can help you fall asleep faster.
  • Focussing on doing just one thing at a time has a calming effect – so step away from the multi-tasking.

The other thing I’d suggest is to start thinking about what would work best for you and putting plans and routines in place now. That way you’ll be ready, and looking forward, to the months ahead.

If you’re struggling with SAD please do speak to your GP or contact the charity MIND – there’s lots of useful information on their website.

And please do get in touch if I can help – hypnotherapy is great for boosting your mood.

Take care.

Elaine

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