Now that we have changed the clocks, winter is around the corner. The change in the seasons and the short daylight hours can affect our mood. Here are a few things you can do to combat seasonal low mood.
Make and keep a regular exercise routine. Exercising outdoors also increases exposure to sunlight.
This might be taking a short walk in a break at work, getting off the bus a stop early or leaving the car at home for some of your journeys. If you can’t get outside, then make the most of light inside – push back the curtains and work near a window.
Food has an impact on our wellbeing. A diet of food cooked from scratch –vegetables, fruits, proteins and healthy carbs can lower the risk of depression compared to high fat, sugary and processed foods, at any time of the year.
Omega-3 helps the body use its serotonin – a chemical in the body that, at low levels, is linked to depression.
With less exposure to sunlight, our vitamin D levels can drop and this lower level is linked to low mood and depression. So in winter we can supplement this by eating foods high in vitamin D or take a supplement.
Counselling is proven to have a positive effect on low mood, including seasonal low mood. It’s an opportunity to think about what might be having a negative impact on how you are feelings and look at ways of improving this.
Make time for you
With shorter daylight hours, long dark evenings mean we might spend more time at home. This is an opportunity to take some time to care for you. This might be listening to music, reading a book, having a bath or starting a hobby you have been thinking about doing.
Good sleep hygiene
Keeping a good sleep routine helps maintain your body’s cycles and processes and helps keep it in balance. Getting at least eight hours of restful sleep each night is ideal. Going to bed when it is dark outside and waking up with the sun will also help increase your exposure to sunlight and help balance your circadian rhythm.
Sometimes when we start to feel low, we can withdraw from people and this isolates us, making it harder to feel good again. Maintaining social contact, having a distraction and getting support from other people can have a positive impact on our mood. Try and arrange regular activities and this gives you some structure to your time and minimizes long periods on your own.