How to Beat the "Winter Blues"

It’s that time of year again when you may start to feel down as temperatures begin to drop and days are increasingly shorter with less sunshine. Seasonal Affective Disorder is known as “winter depression” because symptoms are more apparent and tend to be more severe during this time of year.

So, to beat these winter blues, follow the tips below to help you de-stress and feel happier.

1) Exercise – it’s a “depression buster!”

The hardest thing about exercise is thinking about doing it. As I’m sure many of you will agree that it’s very easy to keep making excuses for why it’s not the right time. But it certainly makes you feel better once you finally start exercising and get into a routine. 

Don’t use winter as an excuse, get out there and start exercising for approximately 30 minutes a day, if you can. There are a range of activities you can participate in including walking the dog, a jog, run or cycle, a workout at your local gym or attend gym classes- anything that interests you, just try it, you will feel the effects!

2) Eat more complex carbohydrates

Complex Carbohydrate sources, such as whole-grain breads, starchy vegetables and beans, deliver fiber, as well as valuable amounts of vitamins and minerals. These foods will certainly improve your energy levels, particularly if you are used to eating "junk" food with high levels of sugar, so stock up now on these complex carbs and reduce the sugary fatty foods!

3) Catch some rays (when possible)

The neurotransmitter serotonin is a mood enhancer and body levels of this can be increased by exposing yourself to the sun (safely).  The concentration   of vitamin D is also increased by sunshine which can contribute to your mood positively. So, when, or should I say IF, the sun does come out, make the most of the rays to increase your serotonin and vitamin D levels.

4) Take vitamin D supplements

      If the sun refuses to shine, take vitamin D supplements instead. It was found from a winter study which involved 44 people that mood levels improved after taking vitamin D tablets – the next best thing after sunshine!

5) Brighten up your house, make your bed and keep your house tidy

Who’d have thought, a darkly decorated, untidy and cluttered house could have an effect on your mood?! So, to help raise mood levels it’s simple, just ensure you make your bed in the morning, have a spring clean all over and redecorate your house with some light decor to ensure your mood is brighter.

 6) Buy a Christmas Tree

Get into the Christmas spirit early and contribute to improving your mood by decorating your home with Christmas decorations and putting up a Christmas tree. This will immediately get you in the Christmas mood especially with the tree’s magical aroma of pine – OR for those with fake trees, just buy scented candles with a lovely Christmassy smell, mmm!

       7) Keep a similar sleeping pattern to ensure you get enough sleep

It’s Keep recommended that you sleep for a maximum of 8 hours a night and the hours before midnight are far more valuable for rejuvenation than those after midnight. To ensure a good night sleep, make sure your bedroom is dark and quiet, eat dinner early, read a book before bedtime instead of watching the TV, avoid caffeine and sweets and try to have a cool sleeping environment.

8) Stay hydrated and limit your caffeine intake

Try to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day, that’s approximately 2 litres. This will keep your skin healthy, quench your thirst and help remove toxins and waste from the body.

Drinking too much caffeine may disrupt your sleeping patterns, leave you tired and dampen your mood. Try replacing caffeinated drinks with decaffeinated refreshments especially close to bedtime. Herbal tea is an excellent replacement and provides many health benefits too.

 9) Limit alcohol consumption

Consuming large amounts of alcohol can take its toll on your health and leave you feeling low, so  try to limit your alcohol consumption. For women, the recommended maximum intake is 2-3 units per day and for men, 3-4 units per day. NOTE: 1 beer or 1 glass of wine is approximately 2.5 units, so put down that bottle and combine your alcohol intake with a glass of water; you’ll certainly feel better for it in the morning!!

 10) Laugh

Humour and laughter strengthens your immune system, boosts energy levels, reduces pain, and can even protect you from damaging effects of stress. So, try to laugh regularly to decrease stress hormone levels and lighten your mood!


If you want more useful tips about taking control, have a look at our blog on 10 Ways to Stop Work Stress Taking Over.

Sources: Buzzfeed, 2013

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