Winter’s a-coming! While there's a lot we can romanticise about this chilly season, it's undoubtedly a challenging one for some of us.
As it is, the bulk of us have spent a significant portion of the year locked inside due to the global pandemic. Depending on where you’re from, there may be some of us who are not exactly thrilled at the idea of being cooped indoors once again, thanks to the weather.
What Exactly is the Winter Blues?
The winter blues refer to a seasonal shift in moods that is symptomatic of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This shift in mood is a response to the changing seasons. It can result in feelings of melancholy, depression and lethargy.
The coldness and wetness this season has been scientifically proven to lower our immunities, causing us to fall sick more — something that is worsened when you are shut in at home.
We are naturally conditioned to feel more awake and upbeat in daylight, the shortened days and decrease in sunlight can also take a toll on us mentally.
This can cause us to feel a lot more tired and unmotivated.
Keeping fit and staying active also starts becoming a lot harder as we are more inclined to procrastinate or slack on our usual workouts. It's too dark and too cold, after all!
We might be tempted to hole up under a pile of blankets, mindlessly scroll through social media and screw our body clock over by binging Netflix.
Don't let the chilly season get you down, having a case of the winter blues is more common than you think! While we may feel a little more down and a little less motivated, it's nevertheless a festive time of the year. There's still much to celebrate!
How to Beat the Winter Blues
Continue with the amazing progress you've made this year! Prevent yourself from getting bogged down by the winter season with the following tips:
1. Continue Staying Active
That's right, continue staying active, and go against every fibre of your being that's telling you to just sleep in. Exercise is an excellent mood booster, on top of helping you stay healthy and preventing you from falling sick.
If you hate the idea of exercising in the cold, sign yourself up for some indoor exercise classes! There are so many options to pick from, be it Zumba, hot yoga, dancing or spin classes. There's bound to be something you'd be interested to try!
Drag a friend (or several) along as well, making it a social activity will make exercising a lot more fun! It's also a lot easier to commit as you can hold each other accountable.
2. Don't Mess Up Your Sleep Cycle
During this cozy time of the year, when you're finally getting a break for yourself and allowing yourself to breathe, you might feel tempted to stay up and binge your favourite shows. Or maybe the latest seasons in Netflix have been uploaded, and you want to watch all of the newest episodes in a single sitting because you can.
Don't do it!
Maintain your sleep cycle as much as possible. Your body needs a regular rhythm to be familiar with so that it can replenish itself. Force yourself to go to sleep and wake up at regular timings.
3. Cut down on Screen Time at Night
Exposing yourself to too much light at night can interfere with your ability to sleep well, as our sleep cycle is regulated by our exposure to light. Try to cut off all screen time at least an hour or two before heading to bed. If you're reliant on using your phone as an alarm in the morning, put the phone far away from you so that you will be discouraged from reaching for it.
Alternatively, you can even consider buying yourself an alarm clock and leaving your phone outside your room.
Take the time to practice self-care or do something you like instead!
4. Make Sure You Eat Well
Winter's the perfect excuse for you to indulge in hearty meals! Make sure your body's getting all the nutrition it needs to keep the flu bugs at bay. If you're going to be at home a lot more, you could even spend some time cooking winter dishes you love!
Warm yourself up every morning with a cup of hot ginger tea and some lemon and honey. It's a quick and easy beverage to fix up and also a great immunity booster.
Loading up on carbs this season can feel very satisfying. However, do make sure to eat plenty of vegetables and fruits as well! Instead of that extra serving of pasta, give yourself an extra ladle of hearty vegetable stew, and maybe a pomegranate or citrus fruit for dessert!
5. Light Up Your Own Day
If you're not getting as much sunlight as you'd like, don't hesitate to create that light yourself with candles and bright lamps so that you can wake up and also stay awake throughout the day! Create a cozy atmosphere with your lights so that you can get yourself in a more positive mood.
6. Force Yourself to Go Out Once a Day
Much of our modern lifestyle allows us to live our life without having to venture outside if we don't wish to. However, constantly holing up and surrounding yourself with artificial lighting can get quite unhealthy.
There's beauty to be seen in everything, regardless of the season. Break away from our indoor comfort and venture outside to refresh yourself! Try to take a walk outside at least once a day, even if it's just for five minutes!
7. Create a Winter Routine
Compile a list of things, activities, people and places that make you happy. Make active plans to do these things on the list, and create a routine for yourself to make sure you set aside time for self-care and so that you feel neither listless nor overwhelmed.
We hope these tips helped you! Don't forget to stay safe, and stay cozy. 2020 is almost ending, congrats on making it this far!