Seven Simple Ways to Manage the Winter Blues and Anxiety
With the nights drawing in, and the weather growing colder, it can be easy to fall prey to a seasonal slump in your mood. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – or the ‘winter blues’ as it is sometimes referred to – can be down to a natural, seasonal fall in energy levels, which leads to an increase in the likelihood of experiencing mild anxiety and slightly low mood.
However, if you find that your low mood is affecting your day to day life, or if you feel withdrawn, you should always consult your GP to rule out any more serious mental or physical health problems.
If you find you are more anxious, depressed or irritable during the winter months, it is worth resisting the temptation to hibernate and taking action to manage the winter blues naturally by following these tips:
- Spend Time Outside
The weather’s getting colder and it’s tempting to stay snuggled up in the warm, but a brisk walk in the winter sunshine can do you the world of good. Brisk walking is known to have many health benefits on both mind and body and any form or aerobic exercise will release endorphins and serotonin, the feel-good hormones that boost your mood.
- Keep it Cosy
Being cold can make you feel miserable so keep wrapped up warm. When we’re warm we feel safe and comfortable which automatically lifts our spirits and reduces negative feelings associated with low mood and anxiety. Hot drinks and meals help keep you feeling cosy and comforted on the inside when it’s cold and miserable outside.
- Eat Mood-Boosting, Seasonal Food
A healthy diet will help you to feel better at any time of year whilst unhealthy food will leave you feeling sluggish and more prone to low moods. Carbohydrates are especially tempting when the temperature drops, so while you can still enjoy comforting potatoes and pasta, balance them with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Soups and stews are warm and comforting and can contain plenty of fresh, seasonal ingredients to help manage the winter blues.
- Make the Most of the Daylight
Daylight has a significant impact on our mood. Once the winter hits and the days get shorter, it can be harder to feel the benefits of natural daylight. Try to get out during the day as much as you can – you might be surprised at how much better you will feel for even a short daily walk. Research shows that light boxes can sometimes be effective tools to supplement the daylight you are naturally exposed to during the winter months.
- Keep in Touch with Family and Friends
Socialising with friends and family can have significant benefits for your mental health. If you don’t feel like meeting up in person, just talking to a friend or family member for a short time every day can help to lift your general mood and reduce your anxiety. If you find Christmas and the holiday season a bit of a challenge, share your concerns with a close friend so they can support you.
- Take Up a New Hobby
It’s a great time to do that thing you’ve always wanted to do! Taking part in an activity or learning a new skill can be beneficial to your physical and mental health in many ways. Taking up a new hobby can have a whole range of positive effects on your health. You could try something new at home, like knitting, cooking or writing, or join in with a group activity at the gym or an evening class and enjoy the additional social opportunities.
- Take a Herbal Medicine for Anxiety and Low Mood
Taking a natural herbal supplement that is specifically designed to relieve the symptoms of slightly low mood and mild anxiety could help break the cycle of worry. HRI Good Mood contains St John’s Wort extract (Hypericum perforatum L.), a herb which has been traditionally used to help alleviate anxiety and low mood for centuries. Always read the patient information before taking any medicine.
So take action now to ward off the winter blues and you could put yourself in the right frame of mind for a calm and happy new year.
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