It’s January, Christmas has been and gone and you might be feeling a little under the weather or even slightly depressed. There’s now scientific evidence to back up up this phenomena of the ‘winter blues’ or ‘Seasonal Affective Disorder’. Some studies suggest that it’s due to the shorter days and lack of sunlight that can cause symptoms of depression and tiredness (https://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/Pages/winter-blues-SAD.aspx).
Here in Ireland we most certainly get the brunt of the cold weather and shorter days, so whatever your symptoms are here are some tips to try combat those winter blues.
- Try to get outside. I know it’s cold but wrap up warm and head off for a quick 20 minute walk in the midday sunlight. Your body is craving light this time of the year and even 20 minutes everyday will reduce symptoms of the winter blues.
- Exercise. If the weather is really bad and you can’t stand being outside then sweat it out in the gym or the yoga studio. There are many studies out there which suggest exercising everyday can be as effective as taking antidepressants (https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/exercise-is-an-all-natural-treatment-to-fight-depression)
- Eating well. If you’re anything like me then you probably ate your way through Christmas! Now that the selection boxes and cheese boards are gone I’m slowly getting back on track with eating well, with the occasional treat of course. Food such as bananas, eggs, kale and nuts are known to boost both your mood and energy.
- Sleep. Getting a solid 6-8 hours sleep every night will decrease anxiety and increase your energy making the following day ahead much easier. If you’ve major trouble getting to or maintaining sleep check to see if you’re consuming caffeine later or alcohol close to bedtime. There are plenty of devices and apps out there to help with sleep problems as well. One of my favourites is Headspace.
If all else fails remember that this is temporary and by the end of January the sun will be setting nearly an hour after than it is now. And it won’t be long before we’re all saying, ‘grand aul stretch in the evening’.
Sutton Yoga Garden.