Updated: Oct 5, 2020
The clocks are about to fall back and the days get darker. If you're like me the winter gloom makes me feel like a hibernating bear. The dreary grey weather affects my mood and at times all I want to do is hide under the duvet and eat pasta until the sun shows up.
About half the population experiences a mild form of winter blues. However, 6% or so of people get Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This is a recurrent form of depression that can be a lot more debilitating. The symptoms include low mood, irritability, feelings of despair, persistent lethargy, craving carbs and gaining weight. Although anyone can get SAD, women are 4 times more likely to suffer from it.
If winter is not your thing, here are five self-care actions you can take to beat the blues:
Find the sun. A lack of sunlight can lead to the over production of melatonin and this will make you feel sleepy. So make the most of the daylight. Take a walk. Sit near a window. Invest in a SAD lamp for a bit of light therapy..
Get physical. Exercise will warm you up and stimulate your serotonin levels making you feel buzzy and awake. Go for a run. Try skipping. Bounce on a trampoline. Do a home workout.
Eat more protein. Boost your protein intake with the likes of tofu, seitan, edamame, lentils and beans, seeds and nuts, wild rice and green vegetables. Cut out the sugar and all the empty carbs.
Take Vitamin D. A lack of sunlight means less vitamin D. So take a supplement and give yourself a 10 microgram (400 IU) boost a day. Not only is it good for SAD, but it's said to help fight off coronavirus.
Get a good night's sleep. A quality 8-hour sleep during the night will help restore your mind and body. Avoid caffeine. Don't eat too late. Switch off your mobile. Invest in a decent plump pillow.
So there's really no need to curl up like a bear. Stay positive and enjoy the winter, bears really don't know what they're missing.