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  • 5 Common Mistakes That Increase Winter Blues

    5 Common Mistakes That Increase Winter Blues

    It is suggested that 1 in 3 people experience Seasonal Affective Disorder sometime in their life. Known as SAD or simply the winter blues, it is felt at its strongest during the months of December, January and February.

    Winter blues can increase feelings of stress and depression, which can make the winter months long and hard. 57% of people say their general mood and wellbeing are worse in the winter months. This suggests there is a close link to emotional health and the time of year. There are 5 main common mistakes to avoid to ensure you manage your winter effectively.

     

    Mistakes You Can Avoid During Winter

     

    1. Get outside the house – when it is cold outside, we naturally want to stay inside and keep warm. However, if you take a brisk walk or exercise in the fresh air, you will raise your serotonin levels (happy hormone) get your blood pumping and breathe deeply. Make it fun by going with a friend, kick a ball with your child or go looking for animals. You will notice an increase in your mood, be fitter and feel calmer.

     

    2. Don’t grab the sugar and refined carbs – when we feel tired and low, we often reach out for sugar to get a quick hit. However, your long term mood will have a negative impact on added sugar in your diet. Processed foods increase your stress levels, reduces your immune system and affects your sleep. Instead, eat clean food made up from whole grains, lean protein and plenty of fruit and veg.

     

    3. Get good sleep – If you can, get between 7-9 hours sleep. If you sleep too little or too much, this will reduce your mood. So be mindful how long you are in bed. If you are finding it hard to get to sleep, increase your exercise, reduce caffeine and don’t nap in the day. Listening to a relaxation recording before sleep can help improve your sleep quality. If you are worrying about what is going in your life, find someone to speak to so you can let go of your worries.

     

    4. Learn meditation, breathing exercises or take up a hobby that you find relaxing. Winter is a time when people naturally hide away because of the darker days. If you are feeling low in mood, to go out or motivate yourself to do something new can be very hard. But, if you set yourself easy steps towards something, it will keep you focused. Even if it is just meditating  or doing deep breathing for 5 minutes a day, this habit can be enough to reduce your winter blues.

     

    5. Start a gratitude journal or spend some time every day thinking of the things you feel grateful for. When you are feeling low, you will find you will notice the bad things that are happening in your life. When you concentrate on gratitude, feelings of fear, sadness, and anger can reduce greatly.

     

    If you are struggling this winter, give these ideas a go. Of course, if you are feeling that you are spiraling into a lower mood, please speak to your GP to ensure you get the extra assistance. But making small changes, and avoiding these simple and common mistakes, you’ll hopefully find you find this Winter is a much happier one.

     

    About the author


    Giselle Monbiot is a highly experienced Stress Specialist. She dedicates her time helping professional women to overcome stress and to improve their health and wellbeing. If you are interested in speaking further with Giselle, please email her on info@gisellemonbiot.com

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  • Posted by Gillian Walton on January 5, 2017, 10:07 pm

    Useful tips. I struggle with the sugar and carbs. It’s all too easy to reach for "comfort food" this time of year.

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  • Posted by Alex Crawford on January 17, 2017, 11:08 pm

    All true! I also find that I need to push myself to reach out to and meet up with friends at this time of year, or I’ll just completely isolate, which only heightens my depression and social anxiety.

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