5 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues
With Irish winters herding everyone indoors for months on end, the lack of light, social interaction, and reaching for the wrong foods, can leave us feeling blue.
Winter blues can affect both adults and children, and can range from a mild case of the blues, to the more sever SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) or depression if not treated on time. Here are eumom’s top five tips to keep you and your family feeling bright and energetic this winter:
1. Get outside
So it’s cold, raining and windy. This winter, why not wrap up well, pull on the wellies, hats and raincoats, and go out and have some fun with your family? The kids will love the change of scenery and the adventure of running around in the rain, and the fresh air, daylight and exercise will have you all feeling refreshed, energised and ready for anything. If your schedule means you rarely get to see daylight throughout the winter, investing in a light therapy lamp or light box can help in the prevention or treatment of symptoms of SAD or the Winter Blues.
Diet plays a huge role in how you and your family feel, in terms of energy and mood. Eating a healthy well-balanced diet with plenty of fresh vegetables and wholegrains will keep energy levels up, and help ward off those dreaded winter colds and flus. However tempting it is to curl up in front of the TV munching on biscuits and cake, keeping sugary, starchy foods with little or no nutritive value to a minimum will help stablise blood sugar, which in turn keeps moods on an even keel and prevents that mood plummeting sugar slump the following day.
3. Be sociable
It’s easy to shut the doors and hibernate for the winter, but getting out and meeting your friends as often as you can will help to keep your spirits up. Having someone who can listen to your woes, or simply make you laugh can make all the difference when it comes to warding off the blues. And the same goes for your partner and children. Encourage your partner to get out to meet their friends every now and then, and invite your children’s friends over to play once a week.
Exercise, along with diet, are probably two of the most important aspects of maintaining a healthy body and mind throughout the winter. While huddling under a blanket indoors might be instinctual, getting your body moving is the perfect way to counter that winter energy slump. So go for a walk, run or swim - whatever exercise you fancy, and watch your mood and energy levels soar. Exercising is one of the best known antidotes to depression, in addition to keeping you healthy and your body in good shape - all of which make you feel great. Exercising outdoors is ideal - for the fresh air, extra Vitamin D, and just getting out in nature. But the gym is a great alternative to get the blood pumping after a long day sitting down in the office. We sometimes forget that many of our children simply don’t get enough exercise throughout the week. So get your kids to burn off some of that excess energy by taking them outside to kick a ball around, go on a family cycling outing at the weekend, or take them swimming a couple of times a week. It’s an ideal excuse to bond, while benefiting their body and minds greatly.
5. Limit alcohol
As tempting as it might be to reach for another glass of wine after a particularly stressful day, having a couple too many can leave you feeling lethargic and down. Limiting your alcohol intake will mean you can benefit from the enjoyment of a couple of drinks, without experiencing the negative effects. Drinking lots of water if you’re drinking alcohol will also help to flush the system quicker and prevent dehydration, which in itself can leave you feeling sluggish, low in energy and generally down the following day.