With the festive season unfortunately over, the January blues can make some peoples mood fall faster than the thermometer.
Whether it’s the return to work after a happy time with friends and families, the cold weather or the darkening days, January can leave many feeling down in the dumps.
For some, however winter depression is more serious and can last all season.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can become a real problem, as can the less serious winter blues. Seasonal Affective Disorder is depression occurring at specific times of the year, usually Autumn and Winter although some can be affected during Spring and Summer.
Psychologist Andrew Bridgewater explained that 20% of the patients he sees suffer with SAD each year. He says:
‘Anyone can experience SAD, especially if they find themselves under sustained stress or experience a very challenging life event at that time of year.’
Insulation Express have provided this helpful infographic which shows the difference between SAD and the Winter blues:
However, if Winter and the post Christmas-blues has left you struggling with low mood, no matter what the cause, here’s 5 simple things that can help:
Top Tips for Winter Wellness
- Try some moderate exercise – make sure you are getting the recommended 150 minutes of moderate cardiovascular activity each week. Feeling physically well will help to feel mentally well.
- Eat Well – foods rich in vitamin D have been proven to help SAD sufferers. Eating lots of fruit and vegetables and food rich in good fats will help you cope with the colder months too.
- Find the Light – spend as much time as possible in natural daylight. Plan walks in the morning and afternoon so that when you get home you have had time outdoors. You could also consider a light therapy lamp, although these can be expensive.
- Meditate – mindfulness practices have now been proven to help SAD sufferers and those struggling with low mood. Try different forms of meditation until you find the one that is right for you.
- Develop a Routine – people with SAD might struggle to sleep so consider getting into a set routine of waking and sleeping at the same time every day and carrying out the same activities before going to bed (even at the weekends). This will help your body prepare for sleep and help you overcome the darker days.