How To Beat The Winter Blues

Winter is almost here, but curling up on the couch watching reruns of Game of Thrones and overeating comfort food – as divine as that sounds – is not the best way to look after yourself. Here is how to keep your spirits and health up during wintertime.

Cloudy skies, cold rainy days and the inevitable runny noses, sore throats and sniffles can be depressing, and according to an expert, those who complain about the winter blues are not faking it.

“There really is such a thing as depression that comes on with winter – it’s called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)”, says Health24’s CyberShrink.

He explains that it happens as a result of the changes that come with winter.  It is colder and darker in winter, nights are longer, and it’s dark when we wake up and dark when we get home.

This lack of sunshine has a direct influence on home-bodies: science has proven that vitamin D deficiency (vitamin D is made by the skin when it’s exposed to the sun) is linked to depression.

CyberShrink says you can avoid SAD by carefully planned and provided exposure to specific kinds of bright, fluorescent light for particular periods within the day.

Three ways to spend your winter wisely:

1. Out with the old

Clutter can make your home a stressful place to be and winter is the perfect time to create some open spaces in your house. Clear the stuffed filing cabinet and throw out those plastic containers without lids that jam up your kitchen drawers.

Out-of-sight doesn’t necessarily mean out-of-mind; if you know the cupboards are bursting with things you shoved in there last year this knowledge will only sap your energy. Give what you don’t need to charity or sell them online – your heart will feel so much lighter.

2. Work on you

You’ve heard it before: a healthy body is the key to a healthy mind. You may not feel like it, but psychologists suggest that working on your health could be a good way to combat the winter blues.

Follow a balanced diet that contains foods from all the different food groups; make sure you’re getting enough vitamin D as well as the B-vitamins – either through supplements or foods; eat foods, such as fish and other types of seafood, that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids; cut out stimulants such as caffeine and cigarettes; and do regular exercise.

3. Digital declutter

Remember all the videos and pictures you took in summer, the ones you haven’t sorted? The extra time you spend at home during winter could be ideal for organising and detoxing your digital life.

Research suggests that storing digital clutter such as unused apps and too many emails can cause a lot of anxiety. Delete what you don’t need or haven’t used in ages and back up your PC – it will keep your brain from getting overloaded by unhelpful things and restart your digital life on a clean slate.

That said, winter is also a perfect time to digitise documents, pictures, music, movies, postcards, letters and drawings instead of having them piling up somewhere in your house and taking up precious space.

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