With the days becoming shorter and weather becoming colder, many of us can automatically feel more tired and lack motivation. This mild form of seasonal mood change is known as “winter blues” and can affect over 50% of individuals. Usually beginning around October and ending in April, when spring begins.
This mood change results from our body reacting to the lack of sunlight we are exposed to during the winter. This can disrupt our internal body clock and hormone levels.
The lack of sunlight causes our brain to produce less serotonin and more melatonin. Serotonin is a hormone linked to mood, digestion and sleep and melatonin is the hormone responsible for regulating our body clock and sleep pattern. This contributes to mood and sleep problems and is also linked to depression.
Symptoms of the winter blues include feeling of helplessness, fatigue, sleeping problems, trouble concentrating and changes in appetite.
Below are a few tips which you can do to help overcome the winter blues.
- Eat well – eating an all-round balance diet to keep up energy levels and immune system boosted, while avoiding mindlessly eating away at junk food.
- Get outside – walking outside during the day can improve your mood and expose you to some sunlight.
- Keep active – Exercise is a great way to boost your mood as it increases serotonin and endorphins, which both affect mood. This can be in the form of a run, walk or HIIT class, anything to get yourself moving.
- Catch up with a friend – Give a friend a call or meet up for a walk or coffee. This will have a positive effect on your mood as you will feel connected to your friends and family.
- Meditate – practicing meditation or breathing exercises has been shown to help in those struggling with a low mood.
- Develop a routine – developing a bedtime routine and setting a set time to sleep and wake up each day, can help improve your sleep by preparing your brain for sleep, as it likes predictability and consistency.