5 Top Tips for Beating the January Blues
It’s the midst of winter, and as we head into January many of us may be experiencing a drop in our mood. Known as the ‘winter blues’, or in extreme cases seasonal defective disorder (SAD), this phenomenon is not uncommon. Shorter daylight hours and cold weather result in a biological response that can leave sufferers sluggish, tired, and even depressed.
As such, we’ve put together 5 top tips for improving your mental health and wellbeing and getting 2023 off to an up-beat start. But first…
What are the symptoms of ‘Winter Blues’?
Symptoms will vary from person to person, but could include:
- Oversleeping, fatigue or lack of energy/enthusiasm
- Difficulty focusing and lapses in concentration
- A loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
- Feeling sad or depressed most or all of the day
- A notable shift in your appetite or carb cravings
If you are experiencing any or all of these affects, then our tips below could really help! (Note: If you are suffering severely, we advise you speak to your GP first.)
Tip #1. Get Outside
Studies have shown that both physical activity and natural light are proven to help sufferers of SAD. Go for an hour long walk at midday, during the peak of the sunlight hours. Why not head to the countryside to get the most out of your activity? Dartmoor National Park has lots of walking routes for the avid adventurer, as well as views that will take your breath away and leave a smile on your face.
Tip #2. Take up a New Hobby
Taking up a new, enjoyable pastime is a great way to exercise your brain and boost mental function. Not to mention, it’s fun too! Be as ambitious and creative as you wish. Read that book you heard about, treat yourself to a leisure club membership, take up golfing in the great outdoors, give archery a try, or take up crafting and get creative, the options are endless.
Tip #3. Eat Healthy
Eating well is another great way to combat those winter mood drops, and January is a common time for health kicks. We don’t promote ‘dieting’ and feel a little indulgence is good for the soul. Instead, seek balance and nutrition. Up those leafy greens and whole grains, and reduce free sugars found in chocolate, biscuits, and fizzy drinks for example.
Foods that may help to lift our moods this winter include:
- Bananas: a great energy source and contain nutritional qualities that can stabilise blood sugars and mood.
- Oats: a good source of iron and fibre, can again help control blood sugar levels and improve mood and energy levels.
- Dark chocolate: for a little sweet treat, dark chocolate has flavonoids for brain health, caffeine, and other feel-good properties.
- Fermented foods: fermented foods contain probiotics and can help promote gut health. H A happy gut can lead to a happier you.
- Fatty fish: some studies suggest there could be a link between omega-3 found in oily fish and brain/mood function.
(Source: healthline.com) We advise you consult a GP before making drastic changes to your diet or exercise regime.
Tip #4. Spend Time with Loved Ones
Feelings of loneliness or prolonged isolation can leave us feeling even lower at this, sometimes bleak, time of year. So, you have a great excuse to meet up with family, friends, or even join a social group or local leisure club and get mingling! Talking, whether to friends or a professional, can be deeply therapeutic and help improve our moods. A problem shared is a problem halved as the saying goes. Why not go for afternoon tea together, or go hiking in the moors to soak up some sunlight and vitamin D together as you shoot the breeze?
Tip #5. Keep Warm
Studies have long demonstrated that being warm (or comfortable) can reduce depression and improve wellbeing. This doesn’t have to mean cranking up the heating and wrapping up in a duvet – though sometimes this can be nice! Here’s some alternative ways to get temperatures rising:
- Join an exercise class or go for a run/jog/walk.
- Treat yourself to some quality winter clothing.
- Try out some new, adrenaline fueled activities.
- Enjoy a hot chocolate or grab coffee with friends.
- Go dancing or listen to music and dance at home.
- Go out for a hot meal (that you haven’t had to cook!)
Beat the January Blues at Bovey Castle in 2023
We’re welcoming in a great new year here at Bovey Castle and have plenty on offer, perfect for those looking for a well-being boost. Available to both our residences and day visitors by prior booking, you’ll find a whole host of action-packed activities and mood-enhancing classes and treatments to enjoy. Call 01647 445000 for more information.