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6 tips to beat the winter blues

In Australia, we’re lucky to still see plenty of sunshine on most winter days - however, while we might not be as susceptible to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) as our European and North American friends, it’s still common for people to report a drop in their mood as the temperature lowers.

Often the ‘winter blues’ set in slowly and many of us fail to notice until we’re feeling down. Whether you’re experiencing low moods or energy or simply wanting to stay happy and well throughout winter, there are a few things you can do.

Here are six tips to beat the blues this winter:

Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables

Our diet can have a significant impact on how we feel, both physically and in terms of our mood. When we don’t get enough of a particular nutrient, it may affect our mindsets or behaviours. In order to maintain high energy and stay happy and healthy, it’s important to get a wide array of vitamins and minerals through our food. Eating plenty of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables is a great way to do this. Why not head to your local markets and explore the produce on offer? We’re lucky to have a wide range of foods available year-round, but it’s also a great time to explore different ways of eating and cooking with seasonal produce, such as apples, avocados, beetroot, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, kiwi fruit and more.

Stick to a regular sleep schedule

Shorter days and cold weather can make it difficult to get out of bed, and often leads to feelings of fatigue and lethargy throughout the day. It can feel tempting to sleep in or to sleep during the day, but try to sleep to a regular sleeping schedule. Going to bed and getting up at the same time every day is a good way to train the body to get enough sleep. It’s not only the quantity of sleep that’s important, but also the quality. A regular sleeping routine can help to ensure that your body reaches deeper levels of sleep that are essential for recovery and wellbeing.

Take a supplement

We often associate vitamin or mineral deficiencies with illness or feeling unwell in our bodies, but they can also have an effect on your mental health. B vitamins, zinc, vitamin D, fish oils and loads of other vitamins and minerals are important for our brains, making it easier to maintain a happy and healthy mental state. If you suspect you may have a deficiency, visit your GP or speak to your local Capital Chemist pharmacist about which supplements may be right for you.

Exercise regularly

Winter weather can make it very difficult to summon the motivation to get outside and get moving, but regular exercise is just as important in winter as it is during other seasons - if not more so. Exercising is important for your body to stay healthy, but it is also a great tool for improving moods and your state of mind. Exercise triggers our body to release a rush of endorphins, a type of hormone that is associated with feelings of happiness and positivity.

Winter is also a time when many of us tend to indulge in calorie dense comfort food. Regular exercise can help to offset the associated weight gain and help you maintain a healthy body weight.

Spend time with loved ones

Just as it can be hard to get out the door to exercise, it can also feel challenging to make the effort to meet up with friends and family. You may feel like spending time indoors, watching television. Leaving the comfort of your coach to spend time with the people you love is important for maintaining good mental health. Staying social allows you to build friendships and get support from the people who love and care for you.

Enjoy time in the sunshine

Winter is hardly a time where we feel like spending time outside. Instead, we tend to spend more time indoors, whether in the comfort of our home, the office, or the local shopping centre. However, spending time outdoors is important for our physical and mental health. Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins for good mental health. In fact, not getting enough of this fat-soluble vitamin is associated with a higher risk of depression. The best way to ensure you’re getting adequate vitamin D levels is to spend time outdoors in the sun - whether that’s a 15-minute walk at lunchtime or a trip to the park with the kids. Many people struggle to get enough vitamin D through sunlight alone in the winter months, so you may wish to consider purchasing a supplement for you and your family.

If you’re experiencing depression or anxiety or need support, speak to your GP or contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.


You may also be interested in the following:

Common sense for the common cold. Tips to stay healthy during winter
Looking after your skin during winter
6 tips to beat the winter blues
Tips for staying motivated this winter

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