Hello Winter Blues, why don´t you fxxx off
Feeling under the weather? I am.
November is my least favourite month of the year. No matter how hard I try to find positives, I always struggle through the 30 long, dark days, bad humoured and grumpy, thinking about the winter ahead.
I like to blame it on the lack of light, as I originate from a country much further south than the one I am living in right now, with a more balanced 12 hours of day and night throughout the entire year. Therefore, the eternal darkness that we seem to be living in these days, really gets to me. Apparently it is called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and according to this article, this is the population most affected:
Generally, research suggests that first and second generation darker-skinned immigrants living in higher-latitude areas, menopausal women, indoor workers and those with a family and/or personal history of mental illness are high risk groups for the development of SAD.
Great; I have it all, except maybe the latter (and even that is questionable…)
I have tried several things to ease the symptoms and some of them do the trick, although the most efficient one would be to move to Bahamas for 6 months per annum. Here is my compilation:
1. Get a little Daylight every day
I am not a fan of light therapy and I am not willing to spend money on a lamp to simulate sunshine. However I do notice a difference in my mood, if I get outdoors for a few minutes every day. This is easier said than done, if you have an office job where you arrive at night and leave when it is dark again. But you can try to go for a walk around the block during lunchtime or (this is my favourite) schedule in a few walking-meetings. Build some outdoor exercise into your weekly routine and try to spend as much time outdoor during the main hours of the day on weekends.
2. Take Vitamins and Melatonin
Supplementing your diet with a Multivitamin Complex is always a good idea during this time of the year. You should consult your doctor on the Melatonin as it is not for everybody, but I find that it helps me regulate my sleeping rhythm if this becomes out of sink.
3. Try a Hot Yoga Class
For those who don´t know what Hot Yoga is: in a nutshell it is a yoga class in a really hot (ie +35C) environment and you will sweat like crazy. There is a lot of controversy about hot yoga, so I would recommend you do a bit of research first and check with your doctor if you have health issues. I find that it is great in the winter months to soothe your body and soul and warm you up (literally!).
4. Have a Sauna
Similar to the point above, a sauna for me works wonders. While I am not a big fan of sauna´s and certainly don´t go regularly, I recommend it to fight the Winter Blues. The change in temperature (including a cold shower afterwards) will get your blood flowing and is a guaranteed feel good recipe.
5. Take a long weekend trip or holiday to a sunny place
This is my favourite hack: break the winter into two, by going somewhere warm. Whether it is a long weekend our your Christmas vacation, seriously consider a change of scenery and climate to boost your energy and fill up batteries.
6. Try to laugh more and cry less
Don´t watch sad movies or read drama stories that will leave you feeling even more down. Don´t dwell too much on problems. Don´t, really DON´T make important decisions if you know you are going through a rough time. Go for a comedy night out or to the theatre. Surround yourself with people who are lighthearted and fun. And most importantly: make an effort to smile more yourself and create an aura of positiveness around you (even if you find it hard to at first). Think about all the good things that you are grateful for every day. And remember: only a couple of more months and it will soon be over!