The short days, the dark nights, the rain, and the cold… All elements that can have a serious impact on our mental health.
The term “Winter blues” is widely known and used, but it can often be what is called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or “seasonal depression”. SAD affects over 12 million people across Northern Europe (NHS Inform, 2023.)
According to the official NHS website, SAD symptoms can include:
Persistent low mood
Loss of pleasure in normal everyday activities
Feelings of despair, guilt, and worthlessness
This last leg of winter can be the most difficult for many, because it almost feels like a waiting game for sunny, spring days.
Despite there is only 4 weeks left to go until the first day of Spring, 4 weeks can feel like an extremely long time… So how can you manage your “winter blues”?
Eat comforting meals:
Soups, stews, and casseroles are the perfect meals that feel like a warm hug. Likewise, it is important to keep up with eating healthily during the winter and adding vegetables into your meals can have a huge impact on your mental health as well as your physical health.
Increase Vitamin D:
Vitamin D is crucial to mental and physical health, unfortunately many of us don’t get enough of it during the winter season due to lack of sunlight exposure. However, you can buy supplements that help to increase Vitamin D. You can find these in your local pharmacy.
We know that you are probably tired of hearing about how exercise can improve mental and physical health, but the reason you hear about it so much is because of how impactful it is. Our mood and energy levels drop massively when the temperature drops too. However, this can be improved by exercising regularly… even for just 10 minutes.
Keep on track of your sleep:
Dark mornings mean that it can be harder to wake up and easier to hit the snooze. Likewise, with dark evenings it can be easy to head to bed a little too early. When our sleeping is out of sorts, so are we.
We know it’s cold and possibly a bit drizzly and grey… but getting outside can have a huge impact on how you feel in yourself. Embrace the beauty of winter… because it is there!
Don’t be afraid to reach out:
It is too easy to become a bit of a hermit during the winter months, but this can have an impact on your relationships with friends and family. This can cause loneliness, but by reaching out, inviting friends over for a movie night, or even going on a winter walk can improve your mood and decrease loneliness.
If you need some more support, join our women’s community Facebook group where you can reach out to others who may be facing similar experiences as you, have free access to resources, and be part of something bigger.