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How to lift your mood in winter

How to lift your mood in winter

By Dear Molly

Some people love the crackle of a crisp winter’s morning under foot. For others, the shortened days and cooler temperatures aren’t quite so welcome.

After all, it can be hard to muster the enthusiasm to spring out of bed when it’s dark and cold outside, and the warmth of bed feels just so welcoming.

If you find the latter description more aptly fits how you feel about the coming chill, here are five tips to lift your mood in winter.

Why winter might bring you down

Over the years there’s been quite a bit of research about the impact of the seasons on our mental health.

Although it’s not conclusive, there is a theory that winter can bring some people down, with the shorter days and reduced sunlight affecting our melatonin and serotonin levels.

That in turn might impact our mood, and also our ability to sleep.

In serious cases, this can lead to something called Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is rare in Australia but sees people become acutely depressed.

For most of us however, winter just has us feeling a little bit, you know…blah.

So what can you do? 

Maintain a healthy diet

If you’re feeling a little bit down in the dumps, it might be tempting to turn to foods high in saturated fat, carbohydrates and sugar. That’s a mistake, experts note, with diet playing a major role in our energy levels and mental wellbeing.

Instead, seek out healthier options, including vegetables, nuts and wholegrains. These provide sustained energy that keep highs, lows and lethargy at bay.

Soak up some sun

The thing with winter is the days are shorter and there’s less of a tendency to get outside. Try and take the time to enjoy the winter sunlight where possible (responsibly of course) as it can really help lift your mood and provide a different perspective of the season.

Exercise

It might be colder, but winter is a great time to ensure you’re getting out and about enjoying adequate exercise.

We all know regular exercise offers both physical and mental health benefits, spurring on production of that serotonin discussed earlier.

If the great outdoors is not appealing, consider exercise you can do inside or even at home.

Get social

Spending time with people you like can help lift your mood and provide motivation to get out and about.

Plan out some catch-ups and winter outings with friends to see you through the winter months.

Get enough sleep

A regular sleep cycle is critical to your health, and just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you should spend too much extra time in bed. Try to establish a regular sleep cycle and stick to it no matter the season.

Talk to your doctor

Finally, if you find it hard to get out of the winter slump, it could be time to discuss things with a doctor.

As mentioned earlier Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression that includes symptoms like sadness, anxiety, lethargy, sleep problems, constant fatigue and over eating.

It’s rare in Australia, but you can learn more about it here.

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